MONTPELIER — The Community College of Vermont (CCV) held its graduation ceremony Saturday at Norwich University’s Shapiro Field House.
More than 450 students received associate degrees. Students representing all 14 Vermont counties graduated, along with students from 14 states and 13 countries. The youngest graduate is 17 and the oldest is 69. Also among the graduates are 43 veteran and military-connected students.
Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant, inaugural vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Carnegie Mellon University, delivered the keynote address. Heading-Grant also holds a faculty appointment as distinguished service professor in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at CMU, and formerly served in senior leadership roles at the University of Vermont.
“What are you going to do with your Vermont education?” she asked graduates, after reflecting on her experience as a first-generation student at UVM and her career in higher education. “Think about the under-represented, think about the marginalized … don’t leave anyone behind. My hope is that you leave something good for all people and you use it as your jumping off point, or your continuing point, to be lifelong learners for the betterment of yourself and for all of us. You are equipped with the power to forge a new future.”
CCV-Upper Valley graduate Kirsten Kersey was the student speaker for the Class of 2022. Joining the ceremony virtually, she congratulated her peers for their perseverance.
“I was humbled and encouraged by the resilience of my classmates. Not only have you all managed to complete your associate while balancing other life responsibilities, you managed to do so during a global pandemic,” she said. “CCV has prepared us for the next steps that we take in our lives…Some of you may be starting a new career or continuing your education at a four-year school. CCV has encouraged me to be a lifelong learner, and no matter where you all go next I hope you continue to seek new knowledge and new experiences.”
Gov. Phil Scott also addressed the Class of 2022, and encouraged graduates to use their CCV education to strengthen Vermont’s workforce.
“Whatever degree you’re receiving today, I hope you’ll use it right here in Vermont,” he said. “Because while getting that piece of paper today is gratifying, we’re really celebrating what you’ve already achieved, which is a great education, and the skills needed to walk right into a great job or move up the ladder in your current one.”
CCV President Joyce Judy officiated the event, celebrating the diversity of the Class of 2022. Several individuals were recognized during the ceremony for academic accomplishments, teaching excellence, and community service. Diane Dalmasse, director of HireAbility Vermont (formerly VocRehab) received the Community Service Award for her commitment to helping Vermonters with disabilities access pathways to meaningful employment. Faculty members Allison Dean, Melanie Meyer, and Telly Halkias received the Teaching Excellence Awards.