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QCC’s 50 Guardians, Alumni Making a Difference: Sgt. Miguel Lopez

Saturday, February 22, 2014


To celebrate Quinsigamond Community College's 50th anniversary, the college is naming "50 Guardians": QCC alumni and friends who have made a difference within the QCC and broader Worcester communities.

Ten Guardians from all manner of occupation and walks of life have already been announced, including this week's profile, Sergeant Miguel Lopez. GoLocalWorcester will profile a Guardian every week, celebrating each of these 50 extraordinary individuals.

Find out more about Sgt. Lopez--plus how to nominate a Guardian--below.

Sgt Miguel Lopez, Worcester Police Department

In a strange turn of events, Miguel Lopez’ decision not to go to college eventually led him to the Quinsigamond Community College campus. After a stint in the National Guard and some odd jobs, he took advantage of the GI Bill, a choice he calls a lifesaver.

A 1988 South High graduate, Lopez enrolled in QCC’s criminal justice program in 1990, looking toward a career in law. “I immediately blossomed as a person,” he said. “The professors brought out the best in me, and I excelled right away.”

In 1992, he earned his associate degree from QCC and applied to UMass Lowell, nervous that he was making a mistake. “But I hit the ground running. Quinsigamond prepared me for the lateral transition,” he said.

Lopez, a sergeant in the Worcester Police Department, recently was named an Alumni Guardian by Quinsigamond Community College, for his service to the community and the college. 

By the time Lopez received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UMass Lowell, he accumulated significant student debt, so when the Worcester Police Department offered him a job, he took it. “It was then that I decided law was not the best thing for me. I could make a bigger impact as a police officer,” he said.

Lopez has been a QCC trustee since 2009 and enjoys the opportunity to see the “mechanics of everything behind the curtain.” In the greater community, he served on the board for the Boys & Girls Club and currently chairs the Worcester Latino Education Institute and is a member of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative steering committee.

Lopez chose QCC at a time when the college was a household name among the Latino population due to its extensive work in English as a second language (ESL). “Now the school is again a household name due to the work of leadership,” he said. “QCC not only has an eye on the world, bridging communities, but it is also leading the way in workforce development.”

Guardians should be people who have attended QCC or been involved with the college, and been transformed by their experience. It may have led them to further education, involvement in the community, or entrepreneurship.

The guardians represent the spirit of the College’s mythological mascot, the Wyvern, who was the guardian protector of our sister city, Worcester, England. Staff, faculty, and friends of Quinsigamond Community College also may be considered for this award provided they meet the eligibility guidelines. A selection committee will review nominations and choose guardians.

To nominate a Guardian, go to www.qcc.edu/guardians and fill out the form provided. Watch for announcements on Twitter at twitter.com/50Guardians and Facebook at www.facebook.com/50Guardians


Related Slideshow: College Guide: Best Off-Campus Study Spots in Central MA

Are you having trouble finding some much needed peace and quiet on your college campus? Check out the following coffee shops and cafés, which are sure to satisfy your studying needs and taste buds.

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In House Coffee

Enjoy homemade regular and flavored coffee, fresh baked muffins, bagels and more at In House Coffee. They even feature a Tiramisu flavored coffee and serve breakfast sandwiches. At In House Coffee you’ll find all the caffeine and baked goods you’re going to need to get through your studying.

225 Shrewsbury St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Sat 7 AM - 10 PM, Sun 8 AM - 10 PM. 

Prev Next

Bean Counter Coffee Bar

Continuously voted “Best Coffee” by Worcester Magazine, Bean Counter Coffee Bar & Bakery offers the perfect energy boost for your long day of studying. Order one of their homemade pastries for an extra pick me up.

113 Highland St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Thurs 6:30 AM - 10 PM, Fri 6:30 AM - 11 PM, Sat 7 AM - 11 PM, Sun 7 AM - 10 PM.

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Acoustic Java

Acoustic Java is a great spot for studying off-campus, offering plenty of seating and a cozy atmosphere. They also offer a wide selection of seasonal freshly roasted and artisan coffees, teas and made-to-order sandwiches as well as vegetarian options.

932A Main St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 7 PM, Sat- Sun 8 AM - 6 PM.

Prev Next

NU Café

Curl up next to the fireplace with your books and a latte. Is there really any other way to study? Serving certified organic coffee and real fruit smoothies, NU Café has everything you need to get through your study session. Not convinced? At night they serve beer and wine for those 21+.

335 Chandler St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 10 PM, Sat 8 AM - 10 PM, Sun 9 AM - 8 PM.

Prev Next


Starbucks is more than great coffee and snacks. Its comfy chairs and tables provide you with the perfect study environment. Choose from their many hot and cold drink items as well as their sandwiches, pastries and salads.

11 East Central St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Sat 5 AM - 10 PM, Sun 6 AM - 8:30 PM.

Prev Next

Panera Bread

Though everyone knows Panera for their delicious soups, salads and sandwiches, their couches and booths are also a great place to get some studying done while you eat. With many great locations Panera Bread is a convenient place for homework.

Three locations: 120 Goldstar Blvd, Worcester, 508-856-7007; 50 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, 508-798-9949; 70 Worcester-Providence Turnpike, Millbury.

Check website for local addresses, phone numbers, and hours.

Photo: Flickr/docoverachiever

Prev Next

Straight Up Café

Straight Up Café serves locally roasted coffees so you know you’ll be drinking the freshest coffee while writing that final paper. Offering breakfast items, sandwiches, and salads, you’ll have enough options to get you through a whole day of studying.

795 Main St, Worcester


Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 5 PM.

Photo: Flickr/roboppy


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