June 1, 2018 Melissa Lamar

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Tunxis Community College held its 47th Commencement on May 30 at Central Connecticut State University.

Tunxis President James Lombella, Ed.D., congratulates a graduate during the ceremony

A total of 805 degrees and certificates were conferred to 645 graduates from 60 Connecticut towns as well as Massachusetts and New Jersey, and included noncredit certificates awarded through Continuing Education and Workforce Development.

“Commencement is a monumental milestone—it is the realization of a dream, the achievement of an aspiration, and the result of ambition,” said Tunxis President James Lombella, Ed.D., as he congratulated graduates. During his remarks, he recognized all of the diversity in the graduating class, including veterans, parents, grandparents, first in their families to graduate, those born in other countries, graduates who held jobs while pursuing their degrees, those who are not earning their first degree, and graduates with plans to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree. “You have all overcome challenges and barriers, and our campus diversity is what makes Tunxis a place where we embrace our differences and learn from each other,” he continued. “Your education is yours for life,” Lombella added in concluding, as he urged graduates to make a difference and “continue to have dreams, aspirations and ambitions wherever your life path leads.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, also addressed the Class of 2018.

Ojakian asked graduates to commit to their journey, not the outcome. “Don’t ever let anyone underestimate you,” he said, adding there will likely be obstacles and challenges along their paths, and if they embrace them, they are opportunities to make things better. “…Make this world a better place for having been a part of it. That is your obligation as you leave here tonight…”

Valedictorian Danielle Dalena, of Unionville, encouraged her fellow class to challenge themselves. “What I can promise you is that the more you challenge yourself, the more you fight through the things that society, your family, your own brain and body tell you that you can’t do, the more you’ll realize that you can,” she said. “Our decisions to face our fears may not fix us, but they change us.”

Six Tunxis faculty and staff who are retiring received Emeritus status in recognition of their years of distinguished service at Tunxis during the ceremony. Diana Himmel, allied health department chair and professor of allied health/dental hygiene, of Woodbridge; Carol Mahmood, humanities department chair and professor of English, of North Haven; Peter McCluskey, director of college transition and outreach, of Glastonbury; Michael Moore, professor of mathematics, of Plainville; Julie Nocera, professor of allied health/dental hygiene, of Berlin; and Kathleen Schwager, director of Academic Success Center, of Avon.

Tunxis offers over 60 associate degrees and certificates, providing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare students for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs and employment in areas with industry need. Located in Farmington, more than 6,000 students enroll in credit and continuing education programs at Tunxis each semester. For more information, visit the Tunxis website at tunxis.edu.