MANCHESTER, Conn. (June 30, 2020) – Manchester Community College conferred 677 degrees and certificates to 625 graduates of the Class of 2020.
The college is hosting a special web page to honor the graduates in lieu of the formal 56th annual commencement ceremonies to help ensure health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the website to view recorded congratulations to the graduates from Governor Ned Lamont, CSCU President Mark Ojakian, Board of Regents Chair Matt Fleury, MCC CEO Tanya Millner, speeches from commencement speaker Paula Umaña and valedictorian Kacie Underwood, words of wisdom from MCC program coordinators and department heads, the conferring of degrees by Dr. Millner and graduates’ photos.
Graduates were awarded associate in science degrees, associate in art degrees and certificates. Thirty-four graduated summa cum laude, 61 were magna cum laude and 95 graduated cum laude. The youngest graduate was 19, and the oldest was 70. They hailed from 85 Connecticut towns and six other states.
Valedictorian Kacie Underwood, of Glastonbury, earned an associate in science degree in radiologic science. The class salutatorian, Christina Torres-Salas, of Manchester, earned two degrees – an associate in science in general studies and an associate in science in business office technology.
They each are also recipients of the Board of Regents’ Medallion for Academic Excellence. Medallions are awarded at each of the community colleges to graduating students who have earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Other Medallion recipients are Heidi Hawn, of Manchester, who earned an associate in art in CSCU pathways, mathematics studies; Janet Marcinec, of Hebron, who earned an associate in science in culinary arts; Jeffery Smollen, of Middletown, who earned an associate in science in computer game design; and Nicholas Vasileff, of Pomfret Center, who earned an associate in science in accounting and business administration.
Paula Umaña, director of Community Impact at the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University, recorded a keynote address for the graduates. She founded the first Hispanic Capacity Building Institute in Philadelphia and led programming for the Pennsylvania chapter of the Center for Progressive Leadership, and in her current role she provides technical assistance and translates research findings into useful tools and techniques for higher education institutions and their key stakeholders. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia, and holds a bachelor of science degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. As of this writing, she is a candidate for a master of education degree at Temple University.