Middlesex Community College held its 46th graduation ceremony on May 30, presenting associate degrees in the arts and sciences to 319 students. The students completed degrees in 27 different areas of study including biotechnology, forensic science, multimedia web design and development, ophthalmic design and dispensing, management information systems, environmental science, graphic design, and criminal justice.
The ceremony, which was presided over by MxCC President Dr. Anna Wasescha, opened with an inspiring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by Aja Wilson, MxCC employee. Dr. Wasescha then addressed the students, calling on them to “take what you have learned here and flourish in your lives and in your work.”
Meriden Mayor Michael S. Rohde and Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew welcomed students and families, congratulating them on their successes. Nicholas Reyna, MxCC student poet, read an original piece titled, “Essence of Existance: My Ode to MxCC.” Reyna credited MxCC with providing him with “infinite inspiration” to write and create.
The keynote commencement address was given by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal who complimented the graduates for being part of a generation that “rejects the notion of fitting in to one mold or one pattern” and instead being “ceiling breakers.” He also challenged the audience to leave a better America for all who follow, a mission he says is “uniquely American.”
During the ceremony, Paul Gudelski of Meriden and Dorota Klukowski of Newington were announced as class valedictorians. MxCC Foundation Chairperson George Eames presented the Pritchett-Taylor Scholarships to Paul Gudelski of Meriden, Flavia Bird of Meriden, and Leisa Allen of Branford who each had the highest cumulative GPA in the class, and who completed the majority of their degree at MxCC. Additionally, MxCC presented the MxCC Distinguished Service award to the Middlesex Institute for Lifelong Education (MILE) program.
Dr. Wasescha conferred an honorary degree upon Hugh Cox, a tireless supporter of community colleges in Connecticut and MxCC in particular. For more than 40 years, Mr. Cox dedicated his time and talents to support the community college system, helping to improve countless lives.
Dr. Wasescha also conferred the status of professor emeritus on Greg Horne, professor of psychology and human services who will be retiring from teaching at MxCC after 41 years of service. It is estimated that Professor Horne has taught more than 10,000 students during his distinguished career.
The graduating class consists of a truly diverse group of individuals from throughout the region who attend the College at all stages of life: right after high school, after serving in the military, after time in the workforce, or after retiring from one career and starting another.
“Our graduates exemplify what can happen when talented students take advantage of the academic and career programs at Middlesex Community College,” said Dr. Wasescha. “Every year at graduation, we are reminded of the positive impact of small classes, early connections with students, and a faculty dedicated to teaching. That is what we hear from students. And what we celebrate, and want our community to know, is that our students are talented, energetic, curious learners who have the capacity to make a positive difference in the world. All of us at Middlesex are proud to have had a hand in the success of our graduating students.”