BANGOR, Maine — Eastern Maine Community College held its 44th annual commencement honoring 350 graduates, ages 19 to 62. The Class of 2011 represents all 16 counties of Maine and several other states and countries.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins stopped in at the Bangor Civic Center as the students were preparing for the ceremony and personally congratulated the 2011 graduates of the Medical Assisting Program, which is thriving thanks to federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“What a heartwarming experience it was to help celebrate a new start in the lives of these students,” said Collins. “EMCC’s Medical Assisting Program provides students with extensive hands-on training in a field that desperately needs highly skilled professionals. More than that, it sets them on a new course in life toward exciting opportunities and a brighter future. I congratulate each of them on this wonderful accomplishment.”
Officials said the school also is proud of its mission as a transfer institution as several graduates move on to selective institutions.
Three students have been accepted into Vassar’s Exploring Transfer program: liberal studies major Morgan Talty and international students Wook Heo and Hyungik “Josh” Jeon, who are enrolled in EMCC’s Integrative English Training Program. Exploring Transfer is an intensive summer program aimed at opening a path for community college students to continue their education at selective schools.
In addition, two graduating students will begin work on bachelor’s degrees at Mount Holyoke College. They are Shauna Stratonmeier, herself an Exploring Transfer student and library studies major and speaker at commencement; and Myungji “MJ” Choi, a former Integrative English Program student and current business management major.
EMCC President Lawrence Barrett said as he addressed the crowd on Saturday: “Each of our graduating students have a great story to tell about how they achieved their success today and stories are a powerful way to discuss their success. There are 300 stories out there today, and I would encourage each of the graduates to remember and cherish their story of success at Eastern Maine Community College. Remember today is just one chapter of that story but a very important one. I, and the audience today, can’t wait to see and read about the remaining chapters of your stories.”