‘The world needs you’: GCC celebrates 135 graduates


Staff Writer

Published: 06-06-2023 9:29 AM

GREENFIELD — While it was a gloomy Saturday afternoon, no amount of cloud cover could block out the bright futures of the 135 Greenfield Community College graduates.

Speaking to the graduates in front of their loved ones under a tent on the school’s lawn, GCC President Michelle Schutt encouraged those receiving degrees to go out and make the world a brighter place, even if it’s one small step at a time. Alongside the graduates, 64 people also earned certificates in various fields.

“Remember, a small act of kindness can have a profound impact on someone else’s life,” Schutt said. “I am immensely proud of each and every one of you. You have worked tirelessly to reach this moment and you have the power to shape the future — a future that is brighter, kinder and more inclusive. Go forth with courage and determination, and make your mark on the world.”

Following Schutt was GCC Vice President of Information Technology and Library Services Laura Garcia, who is retiring after joining the college in 2018 with two decades of expertise at other Pioneer Valley schools. Garcia said her life and career path have gone through significant changes over the years, with her first role being as a technical manual and marketing materials writer for software companies. Reflecting on her life experiences, which include a battle with cancer, numerous jobs and at one point operating a small business, Garcia said “life is what happens while you’re making plans,” so it’s important to focus on the things you learn on the journey to your destination and to not let failure keep you down.

“If you are someone with an interest in many things, someone who is never quite sure of precisely where you’re going but nonetheless excited to get there, I’m here to encourage you to embrace that and see where it takes you,” Garcia said. “There are many routes to and definitions of success. Find your own and make it own. It might not match others, and that’s OK.”

Closing out her speech, which also focused on how technology is simultaneously a wonderful tool and a potential source of danger for society, Garcia said it is up to the graduates to bring their abilities to the world.

“Go forth from here on your many different journeys,” she said. “Remember to do good, help others, give the world your gifts and talents. The world needs you, each and every one of you.”


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