To celebrate a year of unprecedented challenge and resiliency, Great Bay Community College will host the most unusual commencement in its 75-year history this spring, with several separate in-person graduation ceremonies the weekend of May 14-15 to accommodate social-distancing protocols.
The college will award a total of 330 diplomas, including degrees and certificates. One-hundred and fifty-nine graduates have accepted their invitation to participate in this year’s ceremonies. Each student may invite up to four guests, and all ceremonies will be outdoors under a tent at the Portsmouth campus. College President Dr. Cathryn Addy will deliver the keynote address, and commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed via the College’s YouTube Channel.
As a result of the pandemic, students and faculty faced a year where the college was required to operate remotely during ever-changing public health conditions. The Commencement Committee and college leaders began meeting in January to plan commencement ceremonies that would align with health protocols and offers students the opportunity to receive their degree in front family and friends.
In recognition of last year’s virtual commencement ceremonies, when in-person celebrations were not possible, graduates from Great Bay’s class of 2020 were invited to attend this year’s ceremonies, and more than two dozen accepted.
“We decided to host in-person, on-campus events to celebrate the unprecedented accomplishments of the Class of 2021, as well as their strength of character, their resiliency and their hard work,” said Tina Favara, Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management. “We also felt it was important to invite the graduates from the prior year to attend, so they too, could experience an in-person celebration of their achievement.”
Pinning ceremonies for Veterinary Technology and Surgical Technology will begin at 10:15 a.m. and noon, respectively, on Friday, May 14; followed by a combined Pinning and Commencement ceremony for Nursing students at 4 p.m.
Three additional Commencement Ceremonies will occur Saturday, May 15. At 10 a.m., students from the following programs will receive degrees or certificates: Automotive Technology, Biological Science, Biotechnology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Numeric Control, Computer Technologies, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security Infrastructure, Digital Media Communications, Early Childhood Education, and Education.
At 1 p.m., students will receive degree or certificated from: Engineering, English, Environmental Science, Fine Arts, History, Hotel, Restaurant & Event / Hospitality Management, Information Systems, Technology, Liberal Arts, Motorcycle Maintenance & Repair Technology, Nondestructive Testing, Psychology, Technical Studies, and Welding Technologies.
At 4 p.m., students will receive degrees or certificates (Commencement ceremonies) from: Massage Therapy, Surgical Technology, and Veterinary Technology.
This year represents the 75th year of commencement ceremonies at Great Bay Community College.
Ashley Atkinson, who is graduating with an Associate’s in nursing, said she was thrilled with the decision to host in-person commencement. “I knew they would figure out the best way they could do some form of in-person graduation, and I am so grateful. We can only have four guests, and I have already chosen my four. I am so happy we can celebrate in person,” she said.