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Quinsigamond Community College’s 58th Commencement Ceremony

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu
 

Release Date: 
5/23/2023

WORCESTER, MA— May 19, 2023 —The Honorable Margaret R. Guzman was Quinsigamond Community College’s keynote speaker at its 2023 Commencement ceremony, held at the DCU Center in Worcester on May 19, 2023. Guzman, who was appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Federal District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, sitting in the Worcester Federal Court, in 2023, is a native of Worcester.

Guzman relayed a story that is similar to many of QCC’s students.

“I was not a regular student. I left high school and got a job, and then another job and another job. I would excel until I couldn’t go any further because I didn’t have an education. The obstacles that kept me from going to college remained in place, but to be a lawyer was the goal of my life. I wanted to help people. So, one day I said, ‘Enough’.”

She enrolled at a college that she described as an institution like QCC, which catered to students from varied economic and social backgrounds. She had to work multiple part-time jobs to be able to pay tuition and rent, but eventually received a degree that started her now decades-long career in law.

“You are my people,” Guzman said to the crowd of graduates. “I have been where you are. I have fallen, I have failed, but I love my life because I’ve lived my own truth. There are people in this room that are going to change people’s lives. The change you make on an individual basis has a collective growth. Go and change the world.”

QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja encouraged the graduates to use their new credentials as a steppingstone in a lifelong journey of learning.

“Community college students are incredible. For many, this has not been an easy journey. It has been a time of uncertainty, loss, struggles and hardships for many of you and many in our community. But in spite of all the obstacles, you persevered and are here today,” Pedraja said. “You earned the degrees and certificates you are receiving today – but they are not the goals of education. It is the journey of learning that shaped you and equipped you for the next chapter in your life. Take time to celebrate your accomplishment, but don’t stop here. Go and change the world!”

QCC Chair of the Board of Trustees Alex Zequeira commented on the transformational power of higher education and its effect on the local economy.

“Our graduates are truly a representation of the communities they live and work in. They span all ages and ethnicities, are traditional students right out of high school, non-traditional students, veterans, parents, first-generation college students and immigrants who all have a common goal of bettering their lives through higher education,” Zequeira said.

Student Government Association President Hannah Rosenkrantz, who gave the student greetings, asked the graduates to use their education to better the world.

“We all have hopes and dreams, and now we’ve got an education to back us. Dream for yourself, but also dream our communities and the generations that will come after us. We are the generation who will advocate for equal rights. We are the generation that will push for sustainability and quality. So have hope and believe in yourself,” said Rosenkrantz.

A total of 846 degrees and 394 certificates were conferred upon this year’s graduates.

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.

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