On June 1, 2013, more than 4,000 BHCC graduates and their families, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and guests gathered under the massive white tent on the Charlestown Campus to celebrate Bunker Hill Community College’s 39th Commencement. A total of 1,224 students—the highest number in the College’s history—earned degrees and certificates.
Chairman and CEO of Raytheon William H. Swanson, keynote speaker for the event, received the President’s Distinguished Service Award for his extraordinary efforts on behalf of the College.
President Fifield, retiring this year after more than 16 years of service to the College, received the Trustees’ Distinguished Service Award from the Bunker Hill Community College Board of Trustees.
In his keynote address, Swanson told students that before he started studying at Cuesta College, a community college in California, he briefly considered a career as a professional golfer. He now leads an international company with annual sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide.
A Cuesta College counselor inspired him to consider a different career. “He saw that I had the potential to become an engineer,” said Swanson, who went on to study engineering at California Polytechnic State University and graduate magna cum laude. “Community college changed my life,” he said.
Student Government Association President Ibrahim Diarra said, “Let us remember to give back to the institution that has seen us grow. People need to know how great our institution is and how it has helped us.”
Student Trustee Maria Jose Correa said, “Today it’s not just about getting our degree or certificate. Today, it’s about taking the power of our education and using it to make things better and change people’s lives.”
The Commencement exercises capped three days of graduation-related events, starting with the annual Adult Basic Education Celebration of Achievement on Wednesday, May 29.
Keynote speaker Marta T. Rosa, special assistant to the president of Wheelock College, commended the graduates, saying, “You have achieved something great here today.” Switching from English to Spanish and back, Rosa urged her audience to take these words to heart: “Knowledge is power; el saber es poder.”
At the Honors and Awards Ceremony on May 30, keynote speaker Ratnasari Lusiaga, president of the College’s honor society, asked the graduates to remember their first day at BHCC. “Did we imagine ourselves attending an honors ceremony like this? For those who say yes, I’m happy, because you achieved your goal. But for those who say no, I am even happier, because this means that something changed and engaged you along the way.”