Making the World a Better Place was the theme of the Inauguration of Dr. Patricia A. Gentile as North Shore Community College’s fourth, and first female, president, September 19.
The ceremony, attended by nearly 500 and held in the college’s Lynn campus gym, featured pomp, circumstance and a student and staff flash mob, and served as the formal external kickoff of the college’s 50th Anniversary, the theme of which is 50 Years: Our Legacy, Your Future.
Dignitaries who offered greetings to the new President included Senator Thomas McGee, Speaker of the MA House of Representatives Robert DeLeo, Commissioner of the MA Department of Higher Education Dr. Richard Freeland, MA DHE Board Chair Dr. Charles Desmond, Mary Sarris, Executive Director of the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, Joseph Riley, Executive Vice President of Eastern Bank, President of the NSCC Foundation & college Trustee, NSCC Alumni Trustee Lesley Peters and student trustee Sean Reid of Lynn. Reverend Jane Soyster Gould, Rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Lynn, gave the invocation.
As President Gentile is a lifelong Girl Scout, Brownies from Girl Scout Troop 85030 of Lynn did an Honor Guard Presentation of the Flag and led those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The college’s two Presidents Emeriti Dr. Wayne Burton and Dr. George Traicoff, were in attendance.
In her Inaugural Address, President Gentile said, “Thank you to the quarter of a million people over the past 50 years who have entrusted their dream of a college education to us, and graced North Shore with their energy, talents, ideas, and intellect. Our alumni have made North Shore Community College a source of hope and pride for the last half century. Our current and future students will surely follow their lead over the next five decades.”
“For me, the Girl Scout Promise and Law are guiding principles on how I’ve chosen to live my life. `On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law.’ That law includes a profound statement: “I will do my best to make the world a better place.
“Making the world a better place – this is what I have striven to do my whole life, and what has led me from teaching, to nonprofit leadership, to community and political activism and finally full circle to higher education. I am a passionate believer in the transformative power of education. There is a synergy between my commitment to the Girl Scout law and what North Shore Community College is all about.
“Becoming President of North Shore Community College is the culmination of all my experiences and passion for education, equality for all, civic engagement, activism and democratic principles…. and I am here so that I can leave this part of the world a better place by helping to improve the lives of our students and the communities we share.
“North Shore Community College has a long and rich history of transforming lives – providing the opportunity to make life better through affordable, excellent public higher education and responsible public stewardship. But we know the next 50 years will be very different. The future will require new ways of implementing the business of higher education.
“Times demand that we figure out how best to utilize scarce resources to serve the hundreds of thousands who will seek us out in the next half century. Continued investment in public higher education from public and private sources is simply critical to the economic future of the North Shore and the quality of life for area residents. It will take as much innovation, hard work, and strong leadership to ensure that North Shore and our sister colleges thrive in the future as it took to build these colleges in the past. Perhaps even more!
“As I begin my presidency at North Shore Community College, it is clear to me that the only way to make life better for those we serve is to effectively and efficiently meet our current and future challenges through collaborative innovation.
“As president of North Shore Community College, I promise every resident of the North Shore the opportunity to transform their lives through education, the ability to hope in the future of a better tomorrow, and the capacity to make our world a better place. Let’s start together – Let’s start our next 50 years today!,” Gentile concluded.
Senator Thomas McGee, said, “North Shore Community College is a shining star, providing accessible, affordable first-rate education for over 50 years. Over its tenure, NSCC has helped approximately 250,000 students learn and grow at the college’s three campuses and online. These graduates have shaped history and have helped make the Commonwealth an even better place to live, work, and raise families. The state of Massachusetts, our nation, and our world are grateful for the men and women North Shore Community College will continue to prepare for future success.”
Joseph Riley noted, “I can attest to the tremendous evolution of North Shore Community College from its humble beginnings renting space in Beverly to the multi-campus, diverse college it is today. Times have changed, and we must change with them. We appreciate the fundraising background that you bring with you and look forward to embarking with you on a major capital campaign to secure funds for the renovation of this Lynn campus, additional scholarships for students, and other educational needs. With the generosity of many individual, corporate and business donors, we can continue to provide the funding for our students to succeed.”
Representatives from over 20 colleges and universities were also in attendance.
An Inaugural Gala was held the night before at the Nahant Country Club, attended by nearly 250 people.