MONTPELIER, Vt.—The Community College of Vermont (CCV) held its graduation ceremony today at Norwich University’s Shapiro Field House.
More than 500 students from across the state received associate degrees at the event.
Students representing all 14 Vermont counties graduated along with students from 11 other states and 9 other countries. The youngest graduates were 17 and the eldest was 70.
Also among the graduates were 49 veterans and active duty military personnel.
Ecovative Design CEO Eben Bayer and Governor Phil Scott addressed the Class of 2017. CCV President Joyce Judy officiated the event.
Governor Scott congratulated the graduates and acknowledged the significance of their accomplishment. “Although I’m sure you’ve received a lot of help, support, and encouragement, it was you who made it across the finish line,” he said. He also encouraged graduates to accept that life doesn’t always follow a straight path. “You never know what hand you’re going to be dealt, where your college experience will lead you, where you’re going to go or how you’re going to get there. And that’s okay, because that’s what makes life so interesting. So embrace the challenges ahead.”
Eben Bayer spoke about the importance of persistence. “Your presence in this auditorium is a testament to your grit,” he told the graduates. He shared that his experience as head of Ecovative, whose products are used by companies around the world, has been full of challenges and obstacles. “The reality is that we’ve just begun our work,” said Bayer. “There’s so much more to do.” He told graduates that perhaps more important than the degree itself is the persistence they applied in completing it. “What’s going to take you forward from this day…is the tenacity and effort you displayed in getting [your degree.]”
CCV-Morrisville graduate Levi Costa was this year’s student speaker. He acknowledged the support he received from classmates, faculty, staff, and family. “You don’t have to struggle by yourself. You know why? Just look around you. Look at your classmates who came on this journey with you. Look at the community that’s here to support you. You are not alone–A helping hand is always there. You just have to reach for it.” Costa earned his associate degree in business, and plans to continue on to a bachelor’s program at UVM.
President Judy congratulated the graduates and urged them to keep striving. “I encourage you to take time to reflect on the hard work that got you here, and to celebrate this moment,” said Judy. “I also want to emphasize that this is not an ending. Though you have finished your time at CCV, I hope that your drive to succeed has yet to run its course.”
Several individuals were recognized during the ceremony for both academic accomplishments and community service.
Michele and Peter Asch of Twincraft Skincare received the Community Service Award for their commitment to strengthening Vermont’s workforce.
CCV-Rutland faculty member Carol Tashie received the faculty service award for her engagement with both the CCV and greater Rutland communities.
CCV-Upper Valley student Hunter Knox and CCV-St. Johnsbury student Andrea Otto received student service awards. In addition, three students received alumni scholarships: Alicia Batchelder of CCV-Montpelier, Andrea Otto of CCV-St. Johnsbury, and Cara Tomasini of CCV-Rutland.