Gov. Deval Patrick summed up the accomplishments of this year's "29 Who Shine" winners by saying it the way his grandmother would:
"Mmm, mmm, mmm," he said. "Anyone who needs a lift should pick up a program and read the stories of these 29 individuals."
Among them was HCC's own Camille L. Theriaque, who will graduate May 26th with a degree in liberal arts, a 3.89 GPA and a full scholarship to Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley.
Theriaque, 47, of Holyoke, was HCC's winner of the "29 Who Shine" award, which recognizes a single student from each of the 29 public colleges in Massachusetts. This was the second year the awards were presented by the State Dept. of Higher Education. The ceremony took place at the State House in Boston in front of the Grand Staircase.
"This is about two kinds of excellence," said Richard M. Freeland, commissioner of the Massachusetts Dept. of Higher Education," recognizing the individual accomplishments of 29 individuals from 29 institutions and also about celebrating the collective excellence of our public college system."
Freeland noted that two-thirds of all college students in the state go to public colleges.
"Our greatest asset is the brainpower of our people," he said. "We look to public colleges as the guarantor of our futures."
Paul Revelle, Massachusetts Secretary of Education, singled out the presidents of each of the 29 colleges, including HCC President William Messner, who also attended the ceremony. "They shine," Revelle said, "because of your leadership."
"It's so gratifying to read the biographies," he said to the award winners, "and see the challenges you have overcome, your commitment to community service and your triumphs over personal challenges."
Theriaque was joined at the ceremony by her mother, Elizabeth Greene, of Springfield, daughter, Marissa Theriaque, of Holyoke, and HCC Professor Jack Mino, her faculty mentor.
"I love it," Theriaque said of the "29 Who Shine" recognition. "I'm going to put in on my wall with my other awards."
Photos: (Left) HCC President William Messner, Camille Theriaque, Patrick Beaudry (legislative aide to Rep. Michael Kane) and HCC Prof. Jack Mino. (Right) Elizabeth Greene, of Springfield, Camille Theriaque, and Marissa Theriaque, of Holyoke.