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Leader of the Pack

DATE: Thursday, May 19, 2022

Associate professor Sheila Gould receives 2022 Elaine Marieb Award for Teaching Excellence

Sheila Gould in HCC's Itsy Bitsy Learning Lab

Sheila Gould, associate professor of Education and recipient of the 2022 Elaine Marieb Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, will lead the procession of graduates and give the keynote address at the 75th Commencement of Holyoke Community College, Sat., June 4, beginning at 10 a.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

A Holyoke native and graduate of Holyoke High School who now lives in Chicopee, Gould is coordinator of HCC's Early Childhood Education program, co-host of HCC's Itsy Bitsy Zoomcast, and one of the co-founders of HCC's new Itsy Bitsy Child Watch program. The Marieb Award, endowed by the late HCC professor emeritus Elaine Marieb '80, recognizes a full-time member of the faculty for outstanding classroom teaching. Award recipients serve for one year, receive a small stipend for professional development, lead the procession at Commencement, and also give the keynote graduation speech. 

"Sheila is anything but Itsy Bitsy," said her close colleague, education professor Tricia Kiefer during a faculty and staff meeting introducing Gould as this year's Marieb Award winner. "She certainly deserves this honor." 

At Commencement, HCC will confer associate degrees and certificates to more than 600 graduates from the class of 2022. Alumni from the classes of 2020 and 2021, who were not able to celebrate their graduations in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be recognized as HCC marks its 75th year as the oldest community college in Massachusetts. 

The college was founded in 1946 as Holyoke Graduate School and held its first Commencement exercises in 1948 as Holyoke Junior College, conferring degrees to 14 graduates. 

"This year's Commencement takes on an even greater meaning as we celebrate the college's 75th anniversary," said President Christina Royal. "This is the perfect time for our community to come together and show our students how proud we are of their achievements." 

A handful of those students will be featured center stage. Biology major Yannelis Cruz '22 of Springfield will give a speech as student orator. Carolyn Sicbaldi '22 of South Hadley will present the class gift. Liberal arts major Deanna Bach '22 of Longmeadow and music major Elena Ciampa '22 of Florence will give musical performances.  

For those who cannot attend, HCC will stream the Commencement ceremony live over the Internet. The live stream will be available through a link on the main page of the college website,  

Detailed information can be found at

The event will be American Sign Language interpreted.  

PHOTO: Sheila Gould, associate professor of Education, will lead the procession of graduates, faculty and staff at HCC's 75th anniversary Commencement on June 4, 2022.