Event Recap

Bunker Hill Community College Holds 49th Commencement Exercises, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell Addresses Graduates

Friday, May 26, 2023

Commonwealth’s first Black woman to win statewide office offers BHCC graduates message of hope and empowerment 

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) held its 49th Commencement Exercises on Thursday, May 25, with Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell addressing graduates as keynote speaker and recipient of the College’s Presidential Distinguished Service Award.  

The ceremony was held at the MGM Music Hall Fenway—the first time in the College’s history commencement exercises were held off its Charlestown campus. One thousand two hundred and three students graduated with an associate degree or certificate this year.  

In her keynote speech, Campbell urged graduates to cultivate resilience and joy in the face of challenges. “Our young people today are facing so many challenges unlike anything we’ve seen: social isolation, an ongoing mental health crisis, high costs of living and stagnant wages, technology replacing jobs, school shootings and repeated acts of senseless violence,” Campbell said. “Just getting to this place today took perseverance, courage, and sacrifice.” 

She also described the instability she experienced in her own life, from losing her mother as an infant, her father as a teen, and her brother as a young adult, and said that cultivating a life of purpose helped bring her to where she is today. “Get after that purpose,” Campbell told graduates. Sometimes to find it and to stand fully in it, you don’t take the frequently traveled road, or even the less traveled one. Instead, you will likely have to buck convention and others’ expectations of you and carve out your own road.” 

The Presidential Distinguished Service Award is given annually to a leader in Greater Boston who exemplifies service to the Bunker Hill Community and to the communities the college serves.  

Professor of sociology Carlos Maynard gave the faculty address and celebrated both the diversity and commonalities of the graduates, drawing parallels with his own experience. “I want to remind you that no matter where you might have come from or what you may choose to pursue, know that you have the inner strength and the motivation of family and friends as resources and networks for your journey ahead,” Maynard said. “This journey might have taken you two or more years; and the financial hurdles you encountered, you overcame, just like I once did; and you made it to this day!” 

BHCC President Pam Y. Eddinger presided over the ceremony and addressed graduates, underscoring the importance of joy and purpose in their life’s work. “All joy is not created equal,” Eddinger said. “I hope you remember that to discover a purpose and to embrace those outside of yourself is as important as deciding on a career path, or a lucrative line of work. That your joy is as much about economic mobility as it is about selflessness and service.” 

In addition to the President’s Service Award, Eddinger also presented the President’s Leadership Award to two students: Cameron Wilson and Jin Li, both members of the Class of 2023. The Trustees of the College presented their Service Award to three departments for their service throughout the pandemic: The Department of Facilities Planning, Construction and Energy Management, the Department of Facilities Management, and the Office of College Events and Cultural Planning. 

About the Class of 2023 

Bunker Hill Community College is the largest of the 15 Community Colleges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving approximately 16,000 students per year, including 600 international students from 94 countries, speaking more than 75 languages.   

  • 1203 total students 
  • 389 received Associate of Arts degrees 
  • 634 received Associate of Science degrees 
  • 172 received certificates 
  • 38 graduates were Veterans, Military Personnel, and family members 
  • 143 received honors with a GPA of 3.3 or higher 
  • 342 received high honors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher 
  • 139 received highest honors with a GPA of 3.9 or higher 
  • 22 received more than one degree 
  • 8 graduates in 2023 received an associate degree earned through BHCC’s Early College programs—finishing high school already with one higher education credential 

Watch the 2023 Commencement Ceremony

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