07 Jun

Housatonic Community College Commencement Celebrates 516 Grads Featured

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Members of the Housatonic Community College (HCC) Class of 2021 celebrated their graduation on Thursday, May 27 when the college held its 54th Commencement Exercises at Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport, CT.

Dr. Edward Keane, HCC’s Professor of Psychology and Human Services, served as Grand Marshal for the ceremony. Keane is the school’s longest serving faculty member, having been with the college for 51 years.

Members of the Bridgeport Military Academy conducted a presentation of colors and Governor Ned Lamont congratulated the graduates with a recorded message. Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO of Bigelow Tea, received an Honorary Associate Degree and the commencement address was delivered by HCC Alumna Monette Ferguson, Ed.D., Executive Director of Alliance for Community Empowerment.

With graduates ranging in age from 17 to 64, the profile of the Class of 2021 is a celebration of grit and diversity. Sixty-five percent of the class of 516 graduates were the first in their family to graduate college. Sixty-seven percent identified as belonging to an underrepresented minority and the class represented 40 different majors.

All graduates overcame great challenges presented by the global pandemic to reach this milestone.

“Class of 2021, you will be remembered as some of the most determined, persistent, and triumphant scholars in the history of our institution,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College. “Not only did you stay the course during the most stressful and uncertain fourteen months in recent history, but you made it to the finish line while navigating social distancing, the sudden move to online learning, and a ranging pandemic.”

Stories of perseverance and determination abound for HCC graduates. Gloria Mendez-Basiza, a single mom who worked full-time, started taking classes at HCC in 2013. “Housatonic gave me hope, I thought after having a kid at 19 years old, I wouldn’t be able to have a degree,” she said.

The desire to give her children a better life was the motivation for Bria Lindsay to earn her degree. Bria worked multiple jobs and moved away from the drug atmosphere she grew up in. Upon enrolling at HCC Bria set an intention to beat the odds and change her narrative. “I have illustrated what can be achieved when you possess self-worth, self-motivation, self-determination, and the will to sacrifice to achieve success,” she said.

At age 63, decorated Stratford police officer and radio host Bobby Ramos kept his promise to his mother to earn a college degree, graduating from HCC with honors with a degree in Sociology. “My goal is to be a Sociology professor here at Housatonic, in my hometown of Bridgeport. I am so proud and honored to not only graduate with you fellow students, but to be a part of the Housatonic family,” he said.

Serving southern Connecticut for over 50 years, Housatonic Community College (HCC) offers a student-centered, high quality and accessible education through over 75 associate degree programs to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The college also offers occupational associate degrees and certificate programs, and the non-credit division partners with local businesses and industry to offer workforce training and customized professional development. HCC is distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader Institution, is a Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway provider, and is ranked by the Aspen Institute among the nation’s top 150 community colleges. To learn more about Housatonic Community College, visit www.housatonic.edu.


About Housatonic Community College:
Serving southern Connecticut for over 50 years, Housatonic Community College (HCC) offers a student-centered, high quality and accessible education through over 60 associate degree programs to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The college also offers occupational associate degrees and certificate programs, and the non-credit division partners with local business and industry to offer workforce training and customized professional development. HCC is distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader Institution and is ranked by the Aspen Institute among nation’s top 150 community colleges. www.Housatonic.edu


Caption For Photo Above: Members of the Housatonic Community College (HCC) Class of 2021 celebrated their graduation on Thursday, May 27 when the college held its 54th Commencement Exercises at Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater.

 

Isis and Horus (sculpture) 664–30 B.C. by Anonymous

Caption For Photo Right: Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College.

 

Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO of Bigelow Tea received an Honorary HCC Associate Degree.

Caption For Photo Right: Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO of Bigelow Tea received an Honorary HCC Associate Degree.

 
Read 315 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 June 2021 14:07