April 10, 2024

Campus Compact for New Hampshire, a statewide consortium of college and university presidents and private sector partners, recently held an event in Manchester, NH at the Manchester Country Club to honor the 2024 CCNH Presidents’ Award recipients from colleges and universities from across the Granite State. Among the recipients were students and staff from Great Bay Community College. The awards recognize campus and community members for their outstanding contributions to education and opportunity in New Hampshire.

The presidents of Campus Compact for New Hampshire’s member colleges and universities nominate and award each of the candidates. This year’s awardees for Great Bay Community College included the following:


Great Bay Community College’s Pride Alliance Club

This award, according to CCNH, “honors a student or student organization that has made outstanding contributions to community and/or civic engagement efforts on their campus making service an integral part of their college experience in ways that have had a demonstrable impact.”

According to GBCC President, Dr. Cheryl Lesser, “GBCC’s Pride Alliance Club has had a significant impact on the college community’s awareness and education of diversity for students, faculty, and staff. The organization’s contributions to the Great Bay community have helped increase the College’s culture of compassion, support, and tolerance.”

Over the past year, Pride Alliance participated in several events and activities on campus. They worked with Great Bay’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee to coordinate a LGBTQ+ Cultural Sensitivity Training in collaboration with Seacoast Outright for GBCC Faculty & Staff. They also hosted a student panel on Gender Identity and Experience where trans and intersex GBCC students discussed their relationships with gender, how their identity impacts how they move through the world and are treated. “Their honest and personal accounts and answers to audience questions created a wonderful learning environment for all attendees” said Lesser.

A highlight of Pride Alliance’s work was participating in the Portsmouth Pride Parade & event Spring 2023.


WorkReadyNH Program Manager, Dawn Hamdi

According to Campus Compact, The President’s Good Steward Award is given to a faculty, administration, or staff member who is dedicated to campus-community engagement. Those selected have contributed professional expertise in service to the wider community and have significantly advanced public service on their campus. This year, GBCC selected WorkReadyNH Program Manager, Dawn Hamdi.

As explained in the GBCC nomination letter, the WorkReadyNH Program Manager, Dawn Hamdi, focuses on preparing individuals to be successful in the workforce. She creates programs that mentor and guide adults to instill confidence, uncover hidden potential and allow them to achieve their professional goals. Dawn serves NH residents who are searching for their first job, changing careers, or upskilling, helping them to improve their skills, confidence as well as earn three highly recognized credentials, ultimately increasing their earning power.

This year, Dawn piloted a new cohort of students at Lydia’s House of Hope, a transitional program for homeless women. This was the first time the program was offered off campus or in a remote or hybrid manner. Four residents graduated from the program, have secured jobs and are using skills they learned through WorkReadyNH. Dawn is now working with Magnolia House (a recovery program for men) to provide an onsite WorkReadyNH program.


Portsmouth Housing Authority (PHA)

According to CCNH, The President’s Community Partner award honors a nonprofit organization that has partnered with a CCNH member campus to enhance community life in meaningful and measurable ways. Organizations in this role have developed sustained, reciprocal partnerships with a college or university to meet community needs. This year, GBCC selected the Portsmouth Housing Authority (PHA) for the award.

In 2022, Portsmouth Housing Authority (PHA) approached Great Bay Community College (GBCC) to collaborate on an educational initiative for residents of PHA’s newest property, Ruth’s Place, in downtown Portsmouth. The housing authority had received generous funding which would provide rental discounts for Ruth’s Place residents who enroll in college.

To support the college’s initiatives with PHA, GBCC was awarded a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, providing funds to hire a College Navigator and supplement the existing Academic and Community Support Coordinator position. Both staff members work collaboratively with Ruth’s Place and other PHA properties to provide educational resources for existing and potential GBCC students who reside at PHA properties. As a critical first step, the teams have connected individuals to key resources, including scholarships; utility assistance, childcare; unemployment assistance; mental health counselors and more.

Through these collaborative efforts, four residents of Ruth’s Place have started or completed their higher educational pursuits at GBCC and Portsmouth Housing Authority and Great Bay staff have now expanded their collective work to serve the needs at Gosling Meadows, another PHA property. This successful work is only possible through the true collegiality, combined efforts, and complementary missions that exist between these two organizations.