Posted: May 25, 2016
by Paul Feely, New Hampshire Union Leader
GOFFSTOWN — After being encouraged to follow their passions in life, about 300 graduates exited Sullivan Arena at Saint Anselm College with degrees in hand following Manchester Community College’s 70th commencement ceremony Wednesday night.
More than 300 students received associate degrees from a variety of disciplines — from art and design, business, management and computer science to automotive and welding technologies, education, nursing and liberal arts and sciences.
“We are proud of this year’s crop of graduates and have high hopes and expectations for their future success,” said Susan Huard, president of Manchester Community College. “This is not the end, but instead it is recognition of accomplishment and the beginning of new chapters for the Class of 2016.”
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas served as this year’s commencement speaker. In his speech Gatsas, a GOP candidate for governor, recognized the evolution of the educational opportunities provided by MCC compared to when the school first opened in 1945.
“Today, a diploma from Manchester Community College is viewed by the outside world in a variety of ways,” said Gatsas. “It tells prospective employers that graduates bring important and critical skills to contribute to any business. It says they are work-ready. You are the new generation of graduates who are leaving today with practical skills to make an immediate difference. I am proud of all of you.”
More than 60 degree and certificate programs are currently offered at MCC. This summer, the school will break ground on a new facility to house the expanding HVAC and electrical technology programs on campus, which boast a nearly 100 percent hiring rate for graduates of the programs, according to material provided by the college.
Aaron Christopher Strout of Amesbury, a graduate of the school’s business degree program, received the President’s Award, presented to the student with the highest grade-point average.
Gatsas told graduates no matter how fast-paced and busy their lives may become, never forget the need to pause and “take stock of life.”
“You can stop for a moment and recognize the results of your hard work,” said Gatsas. “Often, in those silent moments, you will hear a new call to action, a new call to serve beyond what you may have ever considered before. It was a desire to serve beyond the business world that drew me to public service — first as an alderman, then a New Hampshire senator, and now mayor of this incredible city. My education and training provided me with a foundation on which I could build my life experience. I couldn’t have predicted where the path would lead, but I know that my academic pursuits gave me the tools I needed to be ready when the call to action sounded.”
Gatsas ended his speech by telling graduates the education they received at MCC has them well-prepared to meet their respective futures head-on.
“You are ready,” said Gatsas. “You may not feel ready, but trust me, you are. It takes a level of bravery to walk through the doors of Manchester Community College and begin a pursuit of something new, something different. You embraced change and you are changed by the experience. You are prepared for the next exciting steps in your lives.”