HCC Holds First-Ever Virtual Commencement

The Housatonic Community College (HCC) class of 2020 was presented virtually yesterday in a ceremony hosted live on the college’s Facebook page. This 52nd HCC commencement celebration ceremony included footage of students and campus, congratulatory messages from faculty and staff, and the appearance of the graduates’ names and photos.

Professor Edward Keane presided as the event’s Grand Marshall, and is the college’s longest-serving faculty member. This year Professor Keane celebrated having been at Housatonic Community College (HCC) for 50 years.

Thomas Coley, acting president of Housatonic Community College and Regional President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Shoreline-West, welcomed viewers. A moment of silence was held for those who have lost their lives in the past few months, and the medical community, first responders and essential workers were thanked for their service.

There were three pre-recorded videos from Governor Ned Lamont; Matt Fleury, Chair of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. The HCC Cabinet was thanked for their work in creating the most comprehensive emergency response in the history of the school, along with the many faculty, staff, administrators and supporters who demonstrated the true meaning of ‘community’ in a time of crisis.

The Housatonic Community College Class of 2020 is a diverse cohort of 544 motivated and talented individuals including 11 Veterans, and two outstanding honors students who graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and received the President’s Medallion. While some graduates will be entering the next phase in their career, others will go on to a university for the next step in their longer academic journey.

“As members of the Class of 2020,” said President Coley, “you will go down in history for your unprecedented strength and determination to succeed. No matter what, you kept going, you kept learning and you kept reaching!”

HCC Alumnus Kirk Wesley, a political campaign manager, author and business owner, addressed the group.

“Although I might understand how you may feel about graduating, the truth is I have no understanding of how you might feel graduating during COVID,” he said. “I want you to know that not walking in a graduation doesn’t diminish the magnitude of this accomplishment.”

The ceremony closed with a listing of degree candidates in order of their majors. Immediately following the students’ pictures and degrees appearing on screen, President Coley invited the graduates to move their tassel from right to left.


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