Northern Maine Community College celebrated the graduation of 190 students during Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 12 at the Forum. Students from the Arts and Sciences, Business Technology, Emergency Medical Services, Nursing and Allied Health, and Trade and Technical Occupations received their Associates’ Degrees and certificates from 37 programs.
College officials welcomed graduates and guests and offered best wishes for the next chapters of their lives.
“While you have been with us on this part of your life’s journey, we hope that you have gained more than just academic knowledge,” said Dr. Dottie Martin, Dean of Development and College Relations. “It is our hope that you have also gained self-confidence, an understanding of the importance of being a team player, leadership skills, an appreciation for the opportunity to provide service to others, and perseverance.”
In his Charge to the Graduates, David Raymond, the Interim Academic Dean, referenced the writings of Henry David Thoreau. “Work is an important ingredient for your happiness and for those you love. The joy of a day of work at a job you love will follow you home and make you a better husband/wife, father/mother, neighbor/friend. An honest day’s work for your employer and honesty with your clients or customers will serve you well.”
NMCC’s Student of the Year, Elizabeth “Betsy” Allen from Blaine addressed the graduates as well. Allen had worked previously for ten years as a teacher before leaving her profession to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a nurse practitioner.
“Walking away from my career as an educator was very difficult, but I realized that incredible things never come from staying in one’s comfort zone,” said Allen.
“NMCC exemplifies every sense of the word community, embraces family, and truly makes it possible for students to succeed.”
The commencement address was delivered by Stephen Richard, the Executive Director of the Central Aroostook Association, an organization committed to supporting the education, employment, and life of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He hit on some important messages for the graduates, including the concept of the “power of one” – that one person can truly make a difference.
“Look at people’s abilities, not their disabilities.” said Richard. “Go out there and make a difference, believe in yourself, make the world a better place, and always believe in the power of one.”
A special President’s Award was presented to Robert Rice, NMCC diesel hydraulics technology instructor, in recognition of his leadership in the classroom and excellence in his trade.
“Bob exemplifies competence and leadership,” said NMCC President Timothy Crowley. “He is an outstanding leader. He is an outstanding instructor. He is an outstanding employee and he is an outstanding human being.”
After the degrees were conferred and all students received their diplomas, celebratory confetti announced the end of the program, and the beginning of many new chapters ahead.