Holyoke Community College celebrated its 70th Commencement on Sat., May 27, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, conferring associate degrees and certificates to 1,003 members of the Class of 2017.
Below are excerpts from local media coverage with links to the full stories:
'Superhuman determination' defines HCC's Class of 2017
By REBECCA MULLEN
Daily Hampshire Gazette
SPRINGFIELD - Cheering friends and family packed the 8,000-seat MassMutual Center on Saturday morning as Holyoke Community College's Class of 2017 took the final steps toward an educational milestone.
As approximately 1,000 graduates streamed into the arena for the school's 70th commencement, whistles and applause echoed throughout the building as the students eagerly awaited the awarding of degrees and certificates with wide smiles and bedazzled
mortarboards.Commencement speaker Vivian Leskes who is retiring this year after teaching English as a Second Language at HCC for 25 years, said in her address that she had "witnessed superhuman determination" in her students to pursue their degrees.
Many worked a full-time job or cared for multiple family members while they were juggling school assignments, she said. What's more, many were the first in their families to attend college.
"Nobody said education would be easy," Leskes, of Ashfield, said.
Graduates of HCC showed 'superhuman determination'
By BRIAN STEELE
SPRINGFIELD - Graduates of the Holyoke Community College Class of 2017 were told this weekend to cultivate strong networks, to help others and to be proud of themselves for overcoming challenges to receive an education.
During Saturday morning's 70th HCC commencement ceremony at the MassMutual Center, college president Christina Royal encouraged the graduates to look forward to bright futures.
"We have a role to play in ... enriching the lives of those around us," said Royal. "It is my hope that, wherever you go and whatever you do best, you carry this sense of connection to others and the pride that you feel in yourselves at this moment.
Major feeling of accomplishment for graduates at 70th HCC Commencement
You can also read the full text of keynote Commencement speeches by ESL professor Vivian Leskes, winner of the 2017 Elaine Marieb Faculty Chair for Teaching Excellence, and student orator Jonathan Mendez '17.
PHOTO by DON TREEGER: A graduating HCC student celebrates after receiving her diploma at Commencement 2017.