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Members of Granite State College's Class of 2014 received their diplomas Sunday. (DAN SEUFERT)

Granite State College graduates largest class ever

GILFORD — As hundreds of family members and friends looked on and cheered, Granite State College graduated its largest class ever at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook Sunday afternoon.

Among the Class of 2014’s 427 students — 247 of whom marched at the commencement ceremony — was Nashua police Lt. Francis Sullivan, who drew a standing ovation as he made his “Greetings from the Graduates” speech.

“In my family, I’m the first one to reach this level of education,” said Sullivan, a U.S. Marine veteran who has served on the Nashua force for 20 years, to loud applause.

Sullivan, who is both a criminal investigator and his department’s media spokesman, chuckled as he praised the college for teaching him how “to form complete sentences” for his press releases.
“Without Granite State College, I would never have achieved this level as a father and as a police officer,” he said.

Speakers at the ceremony frequently praised the graduates’ family members and friends.
GSC president Dr. Roxanne Gonzales noted that the students would likely not have made it to graduation had they not had the support from their loved ones.

Gonzales, in her first year at the college, then praised the recipient of the college’s Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Dyn founder and CEO Jeremy Hitchcock, who she said “embodies the spirit of our college.”
Hitchcock reinforced the ceremony’s family theme.

“Your friends and family helped you along the way. Parents, friends, partners, children … they all wanted you to succeed,” he said.

He then asked the seniors to “read one book when you leave here,” a motivational book called “How You Measure Your Life,” by Clayton Christensen and co-authors James Allworth and Karen Dillon.
Christensen has persevered through a heart attack, a stroke, and a case of cancer, Hitchcock said. The graduates, he said, could learn important lessons about true success in their lives.

“Be happy,” Hitchcock said. “We all have opportunities to lead different lives, use yours. Write your story and let it speak for itself.”

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