May 12, 2021
The Niagara County Community College (NCCC) 57th Annual Commencement Ceremony was held in a virtual format on Friday, May 7th, but graduates were treated to a special celebration on campus Saturday, May 8th. Less formal than a traditional ceremony, the “Graduate Celebration” on Saturday took place outside and allowed graduates to bring their family members and mingle with the faculty and administration at the college.
Those that took part in the event signed up for a specific timeframe in advance to control the number of people on campus at any one time, allowing for appropriate social distancing between guests. The graduates were treated to various giveaways including a Class of 2021 t-shirt, cookies made by the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute (NFCI), and a yard sign for proud families to display to recognize their graduate. A DJ kept the event lively, and a large balloon selfie station was set up for the perfect photo opportunity.
The highlight of the event was when graduates had their moment to walk across a stage set up inside a tent full of cheering college trustees and college administrators, and President William Murabito presented each graduate with a diploma cover. NCCC Board Chairperson Gina Virtuoso stated, “It was an honor to be able to see our students walk across the stage, and observe how proud and happy family members were to be a part of this special day.”
Nicole Pusateri, a non-traditional student who received a certificate in phlebotomy was excited to participate in the event on Saturday as a positive example to her four-year-old daughter. “My advice to anyone looking to return back to school after being away for a lengthy time is that it is never too late to return back. Hard work, commitment, and a positive attitude are all you need to succeed!”
Following the celebration, signs could be seen marking the homes of graduates in the area with the text, “Proud family of a NCCC grad lives here”. In normal circumstances receiving a college degree is a source of great pride for graduates and their families, but considering the extra challenges the pandemic has brought this past year, graduates had an extra reason to celebrate.