Manchester, Conn. (May 26, 2016) – Degrees and certificates were awarded to 896 graduates from 101 towns in Connecticut and other states at Manchester Community College’s 52nd annual commencement ceremony held on Thursday, May 26.
Alison Salamatian, of Manchester, is the Class of 2016 valedictorian, earning an associate in science degree in liberal arts and science. She will continue her education at the University of Connecticut where she will pursue a bachelor of science degree in chemistry.
Salamatian, who was homeschooled until she enrolled in MCC, told her fellow graduates in her valedictory address: “It doesn’t matter if you go to a two year college or a four year university or whether you are homeschooled or not. I have known students in both situations and I have seen some who have failed and some who have succeeded. What matters is whether your teachers care about teaching but more importantly whether you care about your learning. We are here today as proof that two-year community colleges and homeschooling can and do produce smart, productive, hard-working members of society.”
The Class of 2016 salutatorian is Hayley McMahon, of East Hartford, who was awarded an associate in science degree in liberal arts and science. She will be transferring to the University of Connecticut in the fall to major in ecology and evolutionary biology.
Manhattan-based author Amanda Filipacchi delivered the Commencement Address. Filipacchi (pronounced Fili-pah-kee) also received an associate degree in humane letters honoris causa. She is the author of four novels, including The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty (W. W. Norton, 2015), of which The New York Times Book Review said, “Filipacchi’s book [has] a philosophical heft and prods us to examine our own prejudices…Funny, surreal, absurd, and charmingly preposterous…Filipacchi’s characters never question the weirdness around them but meet it with a delightful, practical ingenuity.” The New Yorker called the novel “smart and sweet…a tribute to the pleasures of friendship.”
As an author who has faced more than her share of rejection, she told the graduates not to be afraid of it. “Most successful people, in any profession, do encounter setbacks, disappointments, rejections, and failures throughout their careers, not even just in the beginning” she said. “Successful people work through failure, they try again, and are able to maintain enough optimism and motivation to keep building, keep improving, keep progressing.”
Other awards that were presented during the ceremony included recognition of Sabrina Michaud, of Manchester, who received the President’s Student Award, for the exceptional efforts in her life to achieve her educational goals.
For more info on the Class of 2016, visit the Commencement webpage.
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