Greatness Achieved by Good People Working Together


At Cumberland County College’s May 15 commencement, nearly 500 graduates experienced their “day in the sun” as they individually walked to the stage and received their degrees. The college community and family members cheered as each of the graduates paused on stage during their milestone moment that many will remember for the rest of their lives.

These historic frozen moments are the culmination of hundreds of working hours by the students and many other people. That’s why commencement is perhaps my favorite day of the year.

The journey toward their day in the sun began when this year’s graduates first stepped onto the college’s campus. Some students enrolled right out of high school, and many others enrolled after they had been out of school for 10 or more years. No matter what their backgrounds, most of the students were somewhat apprehensive when they began at CCC. After all, this was a brand new experience.

But the students gained confidence because the college’s knowledgeable professors and counselors believe in them. The professors challenged the students, but they also helped them. Many students juggled job and family responsibilities as they worked to earn their commencement moment. And their families and friends juggled right along with them. No one earns a college degree alone. Along the way, our graduates received a lot of help from a many caring people.

Beginning a few months ago, the students’ excitement grew day-by-day as they inched closer toward earning their degrees. With the epic occasion approaching, the college commencement committee sprang into action. There were literally hundreds of details involved in planning this event. Invitations were distributed. Speakers were scheduled. A new site was chosen for this year’s event: The parking lot adjacent to the new Shirlee and Bernard Brown University Center. This was a risk since commencement was now being held on the opposite side of campus, and this was the largest graduating class in the college’s history.

There were other challenges such as maintaining the grounds on a campus under constant construction and assuring that there was adequate parking. And when everything else was taken care of, we could always worry about the weather.

But scores of talented people worked in many roles to make this year’s commencement a memorable occasion. On the big day, the sun was shining in a bright blue sky. Thanks to our outstanding facilities staff, the campus looked beautiful. The speakers were superb. And the college community as well as the graduates’ families and friends gathered together to cheer the courage and accomplishments of this historic class.

Congratulations to the graduates and all the people who helped make this a milestone commencement. It’s true: Good people working together can produce greatness in our community.