Naugatuck Valley Community College celebrated its 50th Commencement on May 28 at the Palace Theater in Waterbury. For the fourth year in a row, the College boasted a graduating class of more than 1,000.
While total graduates and awards will continue to be calculated throughout the summer as students complete their coursework, there are 1,055 graduates thus far, including 305 students who received multiple degrees and certificates. Of these graduates, 190 graduated cum laude, 72 graduated magna cum laude and 29 graduated summa cum laude.
“It has been a challenging year for the College, but as I stand here before you and look out at all of you, our graduates, the rewards far outweigh the challenges of managing difficult budgets,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “Together, we have moved ahead in so many wonderful directions.”
Members of NVCC’s Class of 2015 range in age from 17 to 77 and hail from 80 cities and towns across Connecticut and seven states in total. The largest field of study was General Studies, in which 350 associate degrees were awarded.
Dr. Robert Hartmann McNamara, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate College at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, delivered the commencement address, urging graduates to “be happy, be humble, be grateful.” McNamara is a 1984 graduate of Mattatuck Community College—one of the institutions which would later become NVCC.
Other special speakers included The Honorable Neil M. O'Leary, Mayor of Waterbury and Chairman Nicholas Donofrio of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.
The College conferred an honorary Associate of Arts Degree to Samuel Gold, Executive Director of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments. President De Filippis thanked Gold for being a strong advocate for NVCC and Waterbury through countless acts, including his support of the College’s pursuit of sidewalks along Chase Parkway and for helping to restore evening bus service to the city. “He truly helped change lives,” she noted.
Nicholas Scheer, NVCC’s 2015 Valedictorian, graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and associate degrees in Engineering Technology—Mechanical Engineering and General Studies.
“We have worked hard, studied and succeeded. We have faced our fears and conquered them,” Scheer told his fellow graduates. “We have learned how to surmount any obstacle—and that is critical. Our lives and our challenges do not stop here. They begin here.”
Graduates showed mixed emotions throughout the ceremony, sad to leave friends, but optimistic about entering the workforce or furthering their studies.
“It’s amazing to be here at commencement, at my age,” said Amy Murphy, 50, of Southbury. “It’s something I never thought I’d actually do and I’m very grateful to be here and celebrate with all my other classmates.” Murphy graduated with an Associate of Science Degree.
View some of the highlights below and in our Facebook photo gallery.