Southern Vermont College associate’s degree valedictorian Jaime Cameron (left) and salutatorian Kora Andrew share a smile before their commencement
Southern Vermont College associate's degree valedictorian Jaime Cameron (left) and salutatorian Kora Andrew share a smile before their commencement ceremony on Saturday. (Tom Momberg / Bennington Banner)

BENNINGTON -- Southern Vermont College presented associate's and bachelor's degrees to 102 students at it 87th Commencement Ceremony on the lawn of the Everett Mansion on Saturday, May 10.

Among degree recipients were Jane Altes, former vice president for academic affairs and interim president of Empire State College, and former assistant secretary of the Air Force (Manpower and reserve affairs), Daniel Ginsberg, who were bestowed honorary degrees of humane letters.

College president, Karen Gross, recognized the growth of each graduate in her commencement address. She asked that they continue to share their personal and professional successes with the college as they continue into their "next chapter."

"Now we send you off into the world, and we have prepared you for that world with an education that's linked to real-world life through internships, practica, clinicals and problem-based learning projects in the community," Gross said.

Gross referenced a Gallup Poll in her address, stating that 13% of all college graduates reported having one professor who made a difference in their lives. She rhetorically asked graduates to raise their hand if they had at least one professor who cared about their success, and a hundred hands uplifted. She circulated the same survey among graduates that day, which she said gave SVC "overwhelmingly" positive feedback.

"This poll from the Gallup group reinforces for me what SVC has known all along: College isn't just about jobs and income, although that's important," Gross said. "It's about creating the kind of connectedness and experiences which nourish you and prepare you for a deeply engaged life."

Jamie Cousineau addressed her colleagues as the baccalaureate degree class speaker, talking about her start at SVC as a transfer nursing student. She spoke of her transition in working with special-needs students and changing her focus to a degree in psychology.

In addition to the support she received from the SVC staff, Cousineau boasted how important friendships and the connections she and her classmates have made during in college are.

"Our friends were the ones who were there for us through all of our ups and downs," she said. "Without these friends, we would not be the people who we are today. Remember that these bonds will not fade in the years to come."

SVC, 982 Mansion Drive, is a liberal arts college that offers 17 academic degree programs and enrolls roughly 500 students annually. For more information about SVC, visit http://www.svc.edu/.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg