BRIDGEPORT, CT – On May 27, at the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport, CT, Housatonic Community College will proudly celebrate the accomplishments of 565 potential graduates. The graduation ceremony will be particularly special this year because the event will take place in-person – the first time the class has been together in over a year.
The 54th commencement exercises, which will follow strict safety protocols, will feature a keynote address by Monette Ferguson, Ed.D., Executive Director of Alliance For Community Empowerment. Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO of Bigelow Tea, will receive an honorary degree.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduates experienced a year like none other. Classes were transformed into online learning, and the Housatonic Community College Foundation stepped in to provide additional support and emergency relief to help students impacted by the crisis.
Yahaira Soto, an upcoming Business Administration graduate, has pursued her degree since 2016, taking classes part-time while working full-time as an office assistant and a mother to three young children.
“We’ve come this far, we had to continue,” said Soto. “You are the only one that puts stops on your life and I’m going to do what I need to do for my family.”
Soto’s drive is far from unusual. Most HCC graduates juggled a hectic work schedule while completing their degrees, and many are the first in their family to graduate college.
“We are thrilled to be able to host an in-person celebration this year for these hard-working scholars. Getting to the finish line was no easy task, especially given the effects of the pandemic, but they persevered – a testament to their strong work ethic and determination to reach their dreams,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College.
Serving southern Connecticut for over 50 years, Housatonic Community College (HCC) offers a student-centered, high quality and accessible education through over 75 associate degree programs to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The college also offers occupational associate degrees and certificate programs, and the non-credit division partners with local businesses and industry to offer workforce training and customized professional development. HCC is distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader Institution, is a Carnegie STEM Excellence Pathway provider, and is ranked by the Aspen Institute among the nation’s top 150 community colleges.