The 620 members of the Housatonic Community College (HCC) Class of 2019 celebrated their graduation on Wednesday, May 22nd when the college held its 51st Commencement Ceremony at Webster Bank Arena.
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 49 years.
Members of the Bridgeport Military Academy presented the colors and the Jonathan Law High School Choir opened the ceremony, singing the National Anthem. Special guests at the event included Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education Member Elease Wright, and 16 year-old author and HCC dual enrollment student Natalee Williams, who also currently attends Capital Prep Harbor School.
Celebrating the fourth largest class in the school’s history is no accident. With an average student age of 27 years old, and the majority of HCC students holding down at least one job while taking classes., HCC institutes strategies that close achievement gaps and keeps students in school so they can graduate and achieve their dreams.
“Each of you is a prime example of what it means to stay close and go far,” said HCC President, Paul Broadie II. “Among you are those transferring to universities nationwide as well as individuals entering the workforce to fill much needed labor market demand. Thank you for being role models to others as an example of what success looks like.”
Janet Yarrow MS, RDN, Professor of Nutrition Science at Housatonic Community College received the Excellence in Teaching Award, and HCC alumnus, Jermaine Burke delivered the keynote address. An employee of Balding Precision in Milford CT, Burke graduated from the school’s Advanced Manufacturing Program.
“To me, the key word in the title Housatonic Community College is community,” said Burke. “It works to serve and build up the community by investing in each of us. Working to serve and build up the surrounding area in which the edifice calls home.”
“This is the beginning of the American Dream,” said Sebastian Martinez, originally from Columbia and furthering his studies at UCONN in the fall to study Business Administration. “I came to this country to work hard and change the thinking about immigrants.”
This year's commencement ceremonies included nineteen Veterans, and featured Surgical Technology graduates for the first time. The most popular majors in the class included Behavioral and Social Sciences, Business, Criminal Justice, Advanced Manufacturing Machine Technology, Early Childhood Inclusive Education and General Studies.