White Mountains Community College celebrates our students and our community
By Charles Lloyd, president of White Mountains Community College
On Friday, May 13, White Mountains Community College celebrated our 55th commencement ceremony. We honored our students, faculty and the community at our Berlin campus on a warm, sunny day but despite the 90-degree heat, the day was pretty “cool”. Under a tent and with nearly 1,000 family, friends and our college community in attendance, we were able to celebrate together for the first time in a few years.
It goes without saying that we are proud of our students, but we can’t thank the community enough for showing their support on that day and throughout the year. People that didn’t even know our graduates showed up just to watch. This is a testament to our community that has always embraced our students, our faculty and staff in so many ways including internships, guest speakers, job placements and more. I believe those in attendance were as inspired as I was by our graduates, their stories of perseverance and achievement, their plans for the future, and the way they were supported at every turn by the college.
Commencement is a time to reflect on the year that has passed. Events required us to be adaptable, flexible and resilient as we went through unexpected times together, learned a lot and ended the school year strong. We were forced to re-think how we educate our students and provide them with the services needed to succeed. That starts with delivering curriculum in different modalities including more hybrid options along with shorter eight-week course terms. This allows them to spend more time with family and out in the workforce during a time when the job market is strong. Students are able to meet with their professors and get tutoring online. The entire admissions process can also be done online from registration to orientation. This is about access and convenience and in the digital age, WMCC has adapted and embraced it.
This year, we had 188 students graduate with 204 credentials. Some students earned multiple credentials including stackable certificates and degrees. One student earned three different certificates while another mother-son pair graduated together, walking away with new degrees, new careers and ready to increase social mobility for their family twofold. While we are extremely proud of these accomplishments, the exciting part is that they all have jobs waiting for them. WMCC is career driven and workforce focused.
We’ve seen that same adaptability and flexibility in our students as well. They are engaged and actively taking their education to heart. They are being proactive, showing up early for their classes and engaging with professors afterwards to get everything they can out of the experience. In short, they are maximizing their WMCC experience so they are prepared to make strong contributions to their communities and the workforce.
As we look to the year ahead, innovation is top of mind. This will drive us to continue to evolve and meet the needs of the workforce in the North Country and remain a very strong and firm resource for the entire community. That’s what lifelong learning is all about, and one of the reasons students find an environment at White Mountains Community College where they can thrive.
Dr. Charles Lloyd is the president of White Mountains Community College (WMCC). Located in Berlin with academic centers in Littleton and North Conway, WMCC is one of seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire and offers Associate Degree and Certificate programs, plus training options, preparing students for 21st century job opportunities, as well as transfer pathways to four-year colleges and universities.