Honorary Degree Recipients 2014
Ms. Judith A. Clarke
Founder and Executive Director
Women Who Care Ministries
Ms. Judith A. Clark is the founder and executive director of Women Who Care Ministries (WWCM). For more than 13 years, WWCM’s mission has been to help hurting people transition to a brighter day by providing critical safety net services.
Ms. Clark is a Philadelphia native and mother of one daughter. She loves helping people. Having survived painful past of abuse and brokenness, her adage is: “My former pain is going to bring gain to others! Ms. Clark, a purpose-driven visionary, transformed a ministry, originally designed to help hurting women heal, into a faith-inspired nonprofit organization serving the entire community. The organization’s programs include support services for victims of domestic violence and the homeless, and mentoring and life skills workshops for incarcerated teens.
Under her leadership, WWCM recently launched the Montgomery Village Food Center which provides emergency food and self-sufficiency programs to its ever-increasing client base. WWCM’s signature program is the Helping Kids Eat Backpack Weekend Meal Program. Each Friday, this hunger relief initiative provides weekend meals for more than 1,600 low-income middle and elementary school students. Ms. Clark’s personal volunteerism includes providing meals to families at the Children’s Inn at NIH, helping substance abusers recover, and supporting the community through advocacy of social issues. Her many community-based memberships include Leadership Montgomery, National Council of Negro Women, NAACP, and Montgomery Village Rotary Club. She also sits on the boards of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation and Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc.
Ms. Clark’s awards include the Community Service Award and Woman of Excellence Leadership Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Outstanding Organization of the Year Award from the City of Gaithersburg Mayor and Council, the Nathaniel G. Harris Community Service Award from the Elks Lodge, the Community Service Leader Award from Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin, the Marilyn J. Praisner Founders Award from the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, the Outstanding Leader Award from the Victims’ Rights Foundation, the Circle of Grace Awards from Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc., and the Community Leadership Award from Emory Grove United Methodist Church.
Ms. Clark majored in business administration at the College of New Jersey in Trenton.
Mr. Gustavo Torres
Mr. Gustavo Torres is the executive director of CASA, Maryland’s largest Latino and immigrant organization. He is nationally and internationally recognized for his leadership and vision in the immigrant rights movement in the United States. He was the subject of the cover article in the July 17, 2011 issue of Washington Post Magazine: “Head of CASA Is a Man with a Plan.”
Originally a union leader from Colombia, Mr. Torres came to the United States due to the political and economic unrest in his country. He joined CASA’s staff as a community organizer. Under his leadership, CASA grew from an organization with a handful of staff members and a budget of under $500,000 to a nationally awarded, multiservice, advocacy and support agency with a staff of more than 120 and a budget of nearly $8 million.
He is co-chair of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), and a board member of the Alliance 4 Citizenship. He is also a founding member and past president of the National Partnership for New Americans, a national organization dedicated to immigrant integration. Mr. Torres was board president of the National Day Labor Organizing Network. He also served as a member of multiple transition teams for governor and county executives and on numerous task forces and leadership groups addressing issues of diversity, immigrant rights, and multiculturalism.
In December 2001, Mr. Torres received the Ford Foundation’s prestigious Leadership for a Changing World Award, akin to the MacArthur “Genius” Awards presented to 12 grassroots leaders nationwide. In 2002, Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Torres one of 15 Washingtonians of the Year. Under his direction, CASA has received numerous awards and national recognition, including: the National Council of La Raza Affiliate of the Year Award in 2004, the Annie E. Casey Foundation FAMILIES COUNT Award in 2005, the Center for Community Change Champions Award in 2009, and the Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Award in 2009.
He is an alumnus of the Rockwood Fellowship Program in 2011 and the Leadership Greater Washington Program in 2008.
Dr. And Mrs. Adi Shmueli
Dr. Adi Shmueli and Mrs. Iris Shmueli, longtime residents of Silver Spring, Maryland, are generous benefactors of Montgomery College.The Shmuelis selected Montgomery Colleg both as a recipient of their current charitable gifts and as the beneficiary of their estates. Their combined bequests, the largest deferred-gift commitment in the history of Montgomery College, established the Adi and Iris Shmueli Endowed Scholarship to support both scholarships for students in the nursing program and transfer scholarships for students seeking to continue their educations in baccalaureate programs.
Dr. Shmueli, a native of Tel Aviv, Israel, earned a master’s degree in philosophy at Tel Avi University. He continued his study of existential philosophy in Denmark and France, where he earned a doctorate from Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Tours, France. His doctoral thesis, Kierkegaard and Consciousness, was published in 1971 by Princeton University Press. From 1968 to 1970, he lectured on the existential philosophies of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre at Tel Aviv University. He earned a second doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Rochester, New York, in 1974. Humanities Press published his book, The Tower of Babel: Identity and Sanity, in 1978. The book combines philosophical and psychological approaches to deal with the concept of self or identity. Since 1976, Dr. Shmueli has been practicing as a life coach in Washington, DC. He focuses on his clients’ work environments to facilitate their progress and success.
Mrs. Shmueli, a native of Texas, earned a nursing degree at Texas Woman’s University. She joined the Peace Corps and served in Afghanistan for two years. When she returned home, she attended Smith College, earning a master’s in social work in 1971. She met her future husband, Adi, at her first social work job in Rochester. When the Shmuelis moved to Bethesda, Maryland, Mrs. Shmueli began a 20-year career in the Social Work Department at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. While working at NIH, she earned a master’s in public health at George Washington University. Since retiring from NIH, she has been serving as a volunteer at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.
Montgomery College’s first honorary degree was established in commemoration of the 50th anniversary and was awarded to Milton F. (Sonny) Clogg, Esq., class of 1948, at the 50th Anniversary Convocation on November 20, 1996.
The honorary degree program was established to formally recognize contributors, philanthropists, distinguished friends of the College, and honorary speakers at commencements, convocations, or other appropriate occasions. The Board of Trustees approves each recipient eligible to receive an honorary degree. The degree honors people who have risen to a position of eminence, have acquired a national or international reputation in a selected field, hold a distinguished record of public and community service, or have made a notable donation of time, talent, or a gift to the College.