In a packed house at the Palace Theater, more than nine hundred students celebrated their graduation from NVCC. The graduates from 85 municipalities across Connecticut and eight states in total, ranged from youngest to oldest, 17 to 72 years of age. The eldest graduate received an associate degree in general studies and an associate degree in hotel management. The largest field of study was represented by general studies in which 318 associate degrees were awarded. The Class of 2016 earned 1,359 total awards. This is the fifth consecutive year that NVCC celebrated the achievement of granting more than 1,000 awards.
The event was filled with pageantry and accolades for the accomplishments of both the graduates and the College.
Representatives from the State Board of Regents, including Chairman Nicholas Donofrio and Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Estela R. Lopez, the College’s Regional Advisory Council, the NVCC Foundation, Community leaders including Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary and distinguished guests including Dr. Martha Kanter, Director, College Promise Campaign, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education, New York University, and Former U.S. Under Secretary of Education (2009-2013), were in attendance. An honorary Associate of Arts was presented to Dr. Kanter, and Presidential Medals of Honor to Dr. Estela Lopez, Kristen Jacoby, President and Chief Professional Officer of the United Way United Way of Greater Waterbury. Two NVCC faculty, James Pronovost, Professor/Director Radiologic Technology and Kathy Taylor, Faculty Senate President and Assistant Professor were also honored with Presidential Medals. The Valedictorian of the Class of 2016, Ashley Sweet received a Presidential Medal of honor for her 4.0 GPA.
The commencement speaker, NASA astronaut and Waterbury native, Richard Mastracchio, enthusiastically advised persistence. He recalled his own example saying that “For nine years I sent out astronaut applications and got turned down five times. But I persevered even when I failed, and it’s the same for you. Perseverance is how you become successful, never stop pushing.”
President Daisy Cocco De Filippis expressed confidence in the graduates the saying, “We believe in you – our graduates — and in your ability to make the future brighter for yourselves and for all of us as you follow your dreams.”
She charged the graduates, “Please go forth, mindful of the need to use your newly bestowed associate degree or certificate and all of the knowledge and skills you have acquired to contribute generously and in meaningful ways to the communities you inhabit and to the larger world family.”