BOSTON, May 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey delivered the keynote address today at the 40th Commencement exercises at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). A record-breaking 1,352 graduates received degrees and certificates, the highest number in the College's history.
BHCC President Pam Eddinger opened the event with a "ritual of gratitude" in which students thanked all who had helped them get through college. She urged the graduates to ask themselves often in future years whether they have been kind to the world and kind to themselves.
Eddinger praised Markey for his contributions to energy and the environment. Noting his local roots, she said, "He is one of our own. A native son of Malden, a graduate of Boston College and of Boston College Law School, he has lived in the neighborhood of our students, and understands the values of our communities."
"Like a lot of you, I was the first in my family to graduate from college," Markey told the audience of 3,000 graduates and their families and friends gathered under the tent on the College's Charlestown campus. He encouraged the graduates to make it easier for the next generation of students by working to reduce the student debt load, to protect the planet from climate change, and to use the power of technology to make a difference in the world.
The event's featured speaker on diversity, Jose Antonio Vargas, described his life as an undocumented immigrant who was sent to the US as a young child by his parents and did not discover his illegal status until he applied for a driver's permit at the age of 16. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker, Vargas is the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the national conversation about immigration.
The College recognized Museum of African American History Executive Director Beverly Morgan-Welch with the President's Distinguished Service award, the highest honor the College confers on a member of the community. The College and Museum have developed a close working relationship, providing access to the Museum's resources for students and collaborating to develop college courses.
Also honored was long-time BHCC administrator William T. Sakamoto, retiring this year after 36 years of service to the College in a range of capacities from front-line and managerial duties to crucial leadership roles. Sakamoto is Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Services. He received the Trustees' Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary commitment and service to the College.
Karen M. Norton, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications
Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA 02129
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Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts. The College enrolls more than 14,000 students on two campuses and at three satellite locations. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-seven percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls more than 800 international students who come from approximately 100 countries and speak more than 75 languages.
SOURCE Bunker Hill Community College