FALL RIVER — Bristol Community College, which has a campus in Attleboro, will hold a virtual commencement ceremony on May 22 where former state representative Elizabeth A. “Betty” Poirier will receive an honorary degree.
Poirier will be awarded an honorary associate’s degree in Humane Letters for “her support of higher education within the Commonwealth and her dedication to the establishment and promotion of the college’s Attleboro Campus location,” Associate Director of Media Relations Kevin Spirlet said in a news release Thursday.
The Republican represented North Attleboro and part of Attleboro (14th Bristol District) for 23 years prior to her retirement this year.
Also, Lydia Bolger of Mansfield is the class salutatorian. She earned an associate in science degree in Office Administration.
Spirlet said she decided to better herself and prepare for a new career after the business where she worked shut down in 2018.
“After losing her job of 10 years to her company’s closing, Lydia decided to view her situation as a positive, life-changing opportunity to begin her college education and pursue a new career,” he said.
She’s currently earning a second degree at BCC in computer information systems with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information.
This year’s valedictorian is Katherine Haley of Fall River, who earned an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences with a concentration in psychology.
Coronavirus concerns prompted officials to make the switch from an in-person ceremony to one via the Internet, Spirlet said.
“While the college had hoped to hold an in-person ceremony, given the continued uncertainty of the pandemic, the projected number of participants and the time that it takes to plan a large-scale event such as Bristol’s commencement ceremony, the college will continue forward with its plan to host a personalized, virtual commencement ceremony,” he said.
The college’s 54th commencement can be viewed at 5:30 p.m. May 22 on BCC’s 2021 Commencement website, Facebook and YouTube pages.
“Watch party” packages will be sent to each graduate with their cap, gown and special celebratory items.
This year’s ceremony will feature many of the same elements of a traditional in-person commencement including recognizing each graduate by name, Spirlet said.
BCC will present its annual Distinguished Citizen Award to the Fall River Fire Department’s Division of Emergency Medical Services for its efforts to protect its city and BCC from coronavirus.
The school’s Last Lecture will be presented by Manal Mogawer, assistant professor of Dental Hygiene and sophomore clinical coordinator.
He was selected by students to deliver the lecture which honors one “exemplary faculty member who has affected students’ education and their lives in significant ways.”
Silvino Ferreira, associate professor of Computer Information Systems, and Victoria Revier, coordinator and professor of Medical Administrative programs will be the grand marshals, an honor that traditionally goes to the college’s longest-serving faculty or staff.
For updates about Bristol’s 2021 Virtual Commencement Ceremony, go to www.bristolcc.edu/commencement.