GBCC Hosts 69th Commencement

05/08/2015 by Lisa Proulx

Commencement exercises for the more than 275 members of the Great Bay Community College class of 2015 will be taking place on Saturday, May 16th at 11:00AM the College’s Portsmouth campus on the Pease Tradeport.  The Speaker for the College’s 69th Commencement ceremonies will be David Hampson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Willis of New Hampshire, Inc. and National Partner of Willis Programs in North America.  The class of 2015 is comprised of both traditional and non-traditional aged learners from across New England as well as a number of foreign/International students. 

According to Dr. Sarah Bedingfield, Vice President of Student Affairs, academic programs with the largest numbers of graduates this year include Nursing, Veterinary Technology and Liberal Arts.   Dr. Bedingfield points out that the College is also is seeing a rise in the number of students entering and graduating from programs in the STEM fields which allow them to directly align their education with the job market growth areas.  For the first time, GBCC graduates will include students who have completed a Certificate program in Welding Technologies, developed in collaboration with the Seacoast School of Technologies.

International Students

Twenty-three year old Moussa Goumeyrou of Newmarket came to the U.S. from his home country of Niger where he is one of 3000 members of the Wodaabe tribe.  Chosen early on as a leader among his tribe, he was sent to New Hampshire to live with a host family in 2011.  On Saturday, he will receive a Liberal Arts degree in Environmental Science.  Looking ahead, Goumeyrou, plans to return to Niger to learn and do research in the field of sustainable agriculture. “The U.S. will always be my second home” he said, “but I am looking forward to returning to Niger as a new person, to see what needs to be done and how I can contribute to the community.”

Twenty-six year old Ester Singal of Dover is originally from Indonesia and will be graduating with a degree in Hospitality.  In addition to balancing school and work, she became President of the Hospitality Club at GBCC, a role which proved beneficial.  “I was recently offered employment with Ocean Properties as sales coordinator for their Maine hotels” said Singal. It is a dream-come true! I know my career doesn't end here but without GBCC I wouldn't be able to accomplish all the things which led me to this job position.”

Moving on to UNH

Twenty- six year old Anna Kane of North Hampton started her college career right out of high school.  Soon however, she found herself overwhelmed and unsure of future career goals.  She was then faced with a serious health issue and was forced to take a medical withdrawal.  For the next few years, Kane pursued a career in digital film, lived in Germany for a period of time and worked at a call center. “During this entire adventure I always had this little voice in my head urging me to go back to school and get a degree” said Kane, “so I decided one day to just dip my toe in the water and take one class at Great Bay.”  Through the encouragement of professors, Kane learned that she was strong in math and became a tutor.   This Saturday, she will graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts and was recently accepted to the College of Engineering and Physical Science at the University of New Hampshire where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

Filling hiring needs in Advanced Composites Manufacturing

Also among the 2015 graduates will be students who completed the College’s new Advanced Composites Manufacturing program.  Gaining national attention for directly responding to employer’s hiring needs in the manufacturing sector, the program is part of a $19.97 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.

“Most of the students graduating this May have accepted employment with manufacturing companies in the area” noted Debra Mattson, Advanced Materials Manufacturing Program Director/Designer at the College’s Advanced Technology & Academic Center in Rochester.  “One graduate has been employed by Sig Sauer in their composites department located in the Exeter facility.  Other students have been hired by Turbocam, Brazonics, Fall Machine Company, and Safran Aerospace Composites.  Three students attended the program while employed by Albany Engineered Composites, increasing their depth of knowledge in a field where they had been employed for several years.” 

During the 2015 Commencement ceremony, Steve Fader, Financial Systems Analyst at the Community College System of NH will present Awards for Teaching and Service Excellence.  Great Bay Community College President, Dr. Wildolfo Arvelo, will present the President’s Awards and Shannon Collins, Class of 2015, will make the Class of 2015 graduation address.  As part of a tradition which started in 2012, the College will honor student-veterans by providing them with red, white and blue honor cords to wear  during the ceremonies.