Menu button
Home » Campus & Community

Over 1,000 NECC Graduate

Submitted by on July 1, 2011 – 1:58 pm

Massachusetts Essex County Sheriff Frank G. Cousins, Jr., told the more than 1,000 NECC graduates who received associate degrees and certificates on Saturday, May 21, “This is an exceptional group. Remember how smart you are and approach everything with an intelligent mind.”

Cousins, who attended NECC in the early 1990s before transferring to Springfield College where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, told the graduates and their families, “We are the sum of what we choose. Go forth to pursue great things.” He encouraged the graduates to find success on their own terms.

Cousins’ speech followed Northern Essex student commencement speaker Shannon Sheltra of West Newbury, who returned to school at the age of 38 as a single mother of three with few skills and even fewer savings. She had lost her partner as well as her home. She needed an education and career quickly. She found both at NECC.

After recounting her own personal story Sheltra, getting emotional at times, told her fellow graduates, “We all face challenges in life. I have classmates who have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their loved ones, had babies while in school, been diagnosed with cancer…but they are all here today. Some people choose to turn challenges into excuses; others turn them into opportunities… All of you have inspired me…You have transformed my life. You have transformed the lives of my children…I am forever indebted to you. Graduates, I charge you with a mission: Go out into the world and continue to inspire people. Do what you love, love what you do.”

NECC President David Hartleb presided over the ceremony, which was his last as he is retiring at the end of June.

A highlight of the commencement ceremony was the awarding of emeritus status to six retired college employees based on recommendations made by the college’s emeritus committee and approved by President Hartleb. These retires included Elaine Glennon of Peabody, professor emerita of deaf and hard of hearing cluster; Angela Guarino of Tewksbury, assistant dean emerita, academic support center (awarded posthumously)  Jane Nunes of Hampton, NH, director emerita deaf and hard of hearing services; Joseph Rizzo of Windham, NH, professor emeritus of behavioral sciences; Carol Wallace of Chelmsford, professor emerita of radiologic technology; and Dr. Elizabeth Wilcoxson of Newburyport, assistant dean emerita, humanities and social sciences.

Nancy Clover, RN, of Methuen, a Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist, and president and founder of Occupational Health Connection, was the recipient of the NECC 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award.  The award is given annually to recognize an NECC graduate who has achieved success in his or her career, is active in the community, and has given back to the college in some way. An active community volunteer she is most proud that she acquired donations of medical equipment and supplies to set up a medical clinic at the Bread & Roses Soup Kitchen in Lawrence to serve the needs of the area’s underserved population.

Clover, who received her associate degree in liberal arts from NECC in 1998, was already a graduate of the Massachusetts General School of Nursing.

Occupational Health Connections is a staffing and recruitment firm exclusively for occupational and employee health. It is celebrating 11 years.

Stephanie Souers of North Andover, who graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies with Honors and is a member of the NECC chorus, sang the national anthem.

The Stuart Highland Pipe band also performed at commencement.

For additional information contact Ernie Greenslade, NECC Director of Public Relations at 978-556-3862 or

Click here to view all graduates