Commencement 2021

DATE: Saturday, June 5, 2021

HCC to celebrate with virtual Commencement on June 5, 2021

Cynthia Rivera in her cap and gown

Holyoke Community College will celebrate the classes of 2020 and 2021 on Sat., June 5, with a virtual Commencement ceremony starting at 10 a.m.

This live-streamed event will be accessible through the HCC website – – and the college's social media channels. 

The ceremony will feature introductory and concluding remarks from President Christina Royal and Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC Board of Trustees. Keynote speeches will be delivered by two members of the HCC faculty: Raúl Gutiérrez, of Holyoke, associate professor of Spanish and recipient of the 2021 Elaine Marieb Faculty Chair for Teaching Excellence; and Vanessa Martínez, of Holyoke, professor of Anthropology and recipient of the 2020 Elaine Marieb Faculty Chair for Teaching Excellence. 

The student address will be given by graduating HCC student Tugce Kuruca '21, of Chicopee.    

The complete text of each Commencement address is available through the links below, along with details about the classes of 2020 and 2021.

Student address: Tugce Kuruca '21

Faculty address: Vanessa Martínez

Faculty address: Raúl Gutiérrez

Information about the Class of 2021

Information about the Class of 2020

Graduates from the class of 2020 received their diplomas last year but are being recognized this year with the class of 2021.

The event will include musical performances by Christian Santiago of Holyoke, from the Class of 2020, playing the cuatro (a four-string Latin American guitar); graduating music major Chan Collins '21, playing the cello; and the HCC College Chorale. 

The virtual event will feature a virtual procession of graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 and a collection of photos and short congratulatory videos from faculty and staff.

The Elaine Marieb Faculty Chair for Teaching Excellence was endowed by the late HCC professor emeritus Elaine Marieb '80. Each year, one full-time member of the faculty is recognized with the award for outstanding classroom teaching. Award recipients serve for one year and receive a small stipend for professional development and also give the keynote graduation speech.

Because of the pandemic, HCC did not have a Commencement ceremony in 2020, so Prof. Martínez, the 2020 Marieb Award winner, was invited to give her speech this year.

In addition to their classroom teaching responsibilities, Gutiérrez is chair of the HCC Foreign Languages program and co-founder and coordinator of HCC's Latinx Studies program, while  Martínez is coordinator of the HCC Honors Program.

Detailed information about Commencement can be found at 

The ceremony will be closed captioned and ASL interpreted.

PHOTO: HCC psychology major Cynthia Rivera '21 of Holyoke celebrates in her cap and gown on the HCC campus earlier this spring.