GCC Class of 2017, Largest Ever, Marked 25th Anniversary & Final Commencement for President Kendrick

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This year’s graduation ceremony marked two major milestones for Gateway Community College (GCC), the largest of Connecticut’s community colleges. The May 25 ceremony was the college’s 25th commencement. It also marked the last commencement ceremony for current President Dorsey L. Kendrick, who will retire on June 30 after 18 years at the helm.

Commencement began at 6:00 p.m. at the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, with the largest graduating class in the college's history. 

Kendrick is credited with ushering GCC into a new era marked by increasing enrollments, which jumped more than 100% and positioned GCC as one of the largest of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges; for consolidating the college’s two campuses at Long Wharf and in North Haven; and for spearheading the building of a LEED Gold, urban campus that spans two city blocks in downtown New Haven.  

Graduates of the GCC class of 2017 received 1,203 degrees and certificates, with the most popular fields of study being Liberal Arts & Sciences (259), Business (130), Transportation and Engineering Technologies (117), Human Services (116), General Studies (108), Allied Health & Heath Careers (105), Nursing (93), Computer Science (75) and Early Childhood Education (62). 

Award-winning author Arthur Levine delivered the commencement address. Levine is President of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and author of several books including Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student (with Diane Dean, 2012) and Reform of Undergraduate Education, for which he received the American Council on Education’s Book of the Year award. Levine is a 3-time recipient of the Educational Press Association’s Annual Award for writing and recipient of 25 honorary degrees. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently sits on the boards of Say Yes to Education and Motivis Learning. Levine is also a recipient of Carnegie, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Fellowships.

The GCC honorary Associate in Science degree was awarded to New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas Interim Co-executive Director Thomas Griggs, Jr., a longtime advocate of the mission of GCC. Griggs is also a former Gateway Community College Foundation Board Chair (2014-2016).

The President’s Award was awarded to Margaret Bauer, Sc.D., former Dean of Development and Institutional Research at GCC. For more than 30 years, until her retirement in 2009, Bauer served the community college in several roles including interim President of Greater New Haven State Technical College.

The National Anthem was sung by class of 2017 Nursing graduate Juan Carlos Reyes. Reyes completed his nursing degree while working as an outreach worker at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH). He was inspired to pursue his nursing degree after receiving encouragement from YNHH co-workers and receiving the Nurse’s Choice and Peach Awards for his compassion and professionalism. Reyes, a father of two, is also a musician and preacher. He will begin working as a nurse at Yale-New Haven Hospital this summer.

Gateway Community College was founded in 1992 with the merging of South Central Community College and Greater New Haven State Technical College. For twenty years, students were shuttled between two campuses in New Haven and North Haven, that were 10 miles apart.  In 2012, the college consolidated operations onto a new LEED Gold building that spans two city blocks in downtown New Haven, quite literally becoming the “gateway to the city” due to its location, at the junction of Route 34 and Church Street.  

“I strove to leave this college a better place than I found it,” said GCC President Dorsey Kendrick. “I am so proud of our campus, but more proud of our students and the faculty and staff that have worked so hard to serve them.”

Get the latest news and highlights from GCC at the Gateway newsdesk, www.gatewayct.org.