PORTSMOUTH — Great Bay Community College will stream a virtual celebration beginning at 10 a.m. June 20 to honor its 2020 graduates. The college will award more than 350 degrees and certificates in commencement ceremonies that will move online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Students completed their studies remotely when the college’s Portsmouth and Rochester campuses moved to remote operations in March because of the virus.
"Even though our commencement celebration this year is different because it is being done remotely, there is nothing at all remote about our feelings of pride in the accomplishments of our graduates," said Great Bay President Dr. Cathryn Addy, who will deliver the commencement address. "Graduates in the class of 2020 will be remembered for their flexibility as well as for their perseverance, and we thank them for choosing to be a part of Great Bay Community College."
In addition to being a part of this year’s 2020 virtual commencement, graduates will also be invited to participate in the 2021 commencement ceremony.
Degrees conferred will include associate in science and associate in arts, and the college will also award an array of certificates.
The graduation ceremony June 20 will the 74th in college history, and the first conducted online. In addition to Dr. Addy, Dr. Susan Huard, interim chair of the Community College System of New Hampshire, will address graduates.
Departments with the largest number of graduates with associate degrees include business administration, with 47 graduates; nursing, with 45; and liberal arts, with 34. The most popular certificate programs are welding technologies, with 22 graduates, and massage therapy and computer numeric control, with 11 each.
Lisa McCurley, vice president of academic affairs, and Deanna Friedman, associate vice president of academic affairs, will confer degrees, and students will be recognized with a variety of academic department awards, as well as the President’s Award and Chancellor’s Award.
Cynthia Walton, associate professor of English, will serve as faculty marshal, and graduating student Ken Stanley will serve as student marshal. Nursing graduate Ariel Binjour will sing the National Anthem.
Binjour tailored her experience at Great Bay to meet her lifestyle needs, an important consideration when she enrolled seven years ago. She has been "slowly chipping away" at her nursing degree, while also earning a certificate in massage therapy.
"I was originally going to choose a four-year college, but it was far too expensive, and I needed to be close to home to support my grandparents, who have always supported me," she said.
Binjour chose Great Bay because she could study on her terms and on her timeframe.
"I loved the ability to choose when I wanted to take classes, and how many hours of school I wanted to build into my life. I loved the freedom of being able to go to my classes and put my time in, and then being able to go back to the comfort of my home," she said. "I would choose Great Bay again in a heartbeat."
Nursing graduate Lauren Alderman begins her career as a labor and delivery nurse at Wentworth Douglass Hospital this summer.
"I think the nursing program at Great Bay has had a huge impact on my future," she said. "The best part of my experience at Great Bay was the size of the program and the faculty. We were able to get to know our professors and each other, and the faculty were invested in our success."
She also appreciated the cost and convenience.
"Great Bay is a wonderful place to earn a degree or earn credits towards a degree without accruing a massive amount of student debt. It is also convenient to commute to and there are a lot of resources available to help you be successful," Alderman said.
Graduates and their families are encouraged to follow the college’s commencement beginning at 10 a.m. June 20, or any time after, at Great Bay’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/greatbaycc.
For details about the event, visit https://www.greatbay.edu/current-students/graduating/.