Naugatuck Valley Community College Celebrates 56th Commencement | Read the Latest News from NVCC | Naugatuck Valley Community College

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3 June 2021

Naugatuck Valley Community College Celebrates 56th Commencement

Naugatuck Valley Community College Celebrates 56th Commencement

NVCC celebrated commencement for the Class of 2021 with a live presentation of degrees and certificates in the Mainstage Theater on the Waterbury campus. To accommodate the class of 2021, the event was hosted on Wednesday, May 26 for the Liberal Arts/Behavioral & Social Sciences (LABSS) Division, and on Thursday, May 27 for Allied Health & Nursing, Business, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Divisions. A full video presentation of the event, including commencement speaker, the Honorable Geraldo Reyes (D-75), will be available by June 30.  

More information and photos are available on our website and Facebook page.

Chief Executive Officer Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D. delivered the opening remarks to the graduating class of 2021, commenting with enthusiasm that “this is our favorite day of the year, and we are honored to celebrate with you and your families today.” Speaking to the Class of 2021, Dr. Dresdner noted that “you came to us from 79 municipalities in Connecticut, from eight different states, and 51 of you graduated from high school in different countries before coming here to earn your degrees and certificates. You come from all walks of life! You shared perseverance, determination, and a desire to work hard, building a good life for yourself and your families. This year will be remembered as one of the most challenging years ever.” Praising the achievements of the graduates, she continued: "Though taken way out of their comfort zone, our students demonstrated resilience, navigated new ways of learning skillfully, and made sometimes painful sacrifices. In spite of the many hardships of this past year, the losses at home and abroad, every single one has risen to the challenges and collaborated across digital and physical divides, cultures, and generations.”

NVCC’s class of 2021 is a highly diverse and accomplished group. The six youngest graduates are 17 years old, all of whom received certificates. The oldest graduate earned an associate degree in general studies at age 72!  This year’s class also includes 11 Danbury High School students who earned two NVCC degrees and 16 certificates among them through Danbury Early College Opportunity, known as DECO. Ten of these students will also graduate from high school next month.  

This year’s graduates represent the diversity celebrated by NVCC:  24% are Hispanic; 9% Black; 4% Asian; 5% multiple races; and 54% white. NVCC is often a “family affair,” as three pairs of siblings graduated together, and one graduate is the child of NVCC staff members!  

 Dean of Academic Affairs, Justin Moore, Ph.D. introduced the valedictorian and salutatorian from the Class of 21 -- the two students with the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA). In the case of identical GPAs, additional factors are considered. Dean Moore noted, “The selection this year was extremely close as both of these students have outstanding academic records and displayed tremendous amounts of leadership, creativity, and grit.” 

Valedictorian of the Class of 2021, James McSweeney, graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Digital Arts Technology with a focus on audio/visual as well as an Associate of Arts/CSCU Pathway Transfer Degree in Communication Studies. Dean Moore commented, “James certainly made a lasting impression on his instructors and fellow classmates while also maintaining a sparkling 4.0 GPA.” 

Elsa Curiel Iglesias, Associate of Science degree in Nursing, was this year’s salutatorian. Dean Moore congratulated her noting, “You’ve done an amazing job and I know that you will be an incredible nurse and will represent NVCC to the fullest!” 

Dr. Dresdner charged the Class of 2021 to “lead an examined life, to engage to the fullest extent possible as a responsible citizen of the world, to recognize now more than ever that every person comes with a story, and to commit daily to a just and equitable world.” She asked students to “listen to others with openness and respect; to act with kindness, compassion, and strength to uphold your values; to expand your boundaries to include those who are different from you; and to seek opportunities to enact change where change is needed.”   

The NVCC class of 2021 has demonstrated resilience in pursuing their education throughout the pandemic while working to support themselves and their families. These graduates are well-prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.  


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