CCV graduates and their families, faculty, and staff gathered from across the state at Norwich University’s Shapiro Field House on Saturday to celebrate the CCV Class of 2024. The day gave way to sunny blue skies, smiles, laughter, and tears of joy as over 500 students earned their associate degree.

Students arrived early in the day, sharing stories with their fellow grads, decorating their caps, and beaming with excitement for what’s ahead. Chloe Shaddock and her mom Vicki were  happy to share the day together, celebrating Chloe’s accomplishments. “She did it, yay! Chloe is soon to be a graduate of CCV through the Free Degree Promise,” said Vicki. “I can’t even tell you how it feels to be here today, and yes I’m going to cry because it’s a big deal. We’re so proud of her.” Chloe added, “it’s a huge accomplishment. I’m 18 and I’m graduating [from college]. It’s kind of crazy to even think of because I didn’t think I was going to go to college, and now I’m hoping to become a teacher.” The Free Degree Promise, generously supported by the J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation, builds on CCV’s Early College program to allow students to earn a free associate degree a year after high school graduation.

Governor Phil Scott talking with graduates

Governor Scott attended this year’s commencement, joining students before the ceremony to offer his congratulations and shaking the hands of  veteran graduates. As he addressed the crowd, he spoke about the importance of setting an example and reflected on his friendship with the late Vermont Senator Dick Mazza, who was a role model for the Governor. “Treating others the way you want to be treated gets you much further in life. The fact is, we need many more people setting this kind of example. The more of us that do, the more it’ll catch on,” he said. “Today, you’ve all earned something that allows you to be that person: the one who sets the example…You’ve shown that hard work, commitment, and determination can bring opportunity. You should be very proud of that.”

Graduate Caitlin McGinley was the student speaker for the Class of 2024. Caitlin started at CCV during her senior year of high school in the Early College program and is one of more than 25 students in the second cohort of the Free Degree Promise program who graduated this weekend, earning a degree from CCV at 19 years old. During her time at the College, Caitlin also served as a student ambassador for these programs and held an internship with the McClure Foundation.

Student speaker Caitlin McGinley

Caitlin focused on congratulating her classmates, speaking of two themes that emerged during her time at CCV: courage and vulnerability. “Today, as we celebrate this momentous occasion, I urge each of you to recognize and celebrate the journey of growth, resilience, and acceptance of vulnerability that has brought us to this moment,” she said. “You all are role models for anyone considering pursuing education at any stage of life.” Caitlin continued, “Each of us are at a unique point in our lives: some of us just out of high school, others balancing full-time jobs, some raising families, and some of us being the first in their families to earn a college degree. Despite these differences, we all share a common strength: the ability to confront our fears and pursue education and I’m beyond proud to be a part of such an amazing group of individuals.” 

CCV President Joyce Judy officiated the ceremony, acknowledging the drive and determination that helped students get this far, and asking them: “where will these qualities take you next?” 

Several students, faculty, and community members were recognized during the ceremony. Susan and Bob Titterton were presented with the Community Service Award for their generous support of CCV through scholarships for early childhood educators, along with contributions to many local and statewide initiatives. CCV-Montpelier students Talyn Brown-Wolf and Elizabeth Robinson received the Student Leadership Award. The 2024 Alumni Scholarships were presented to CCV-Winooski student Fathima Babu and CCV-Newport student Kaitlyn Masson. Faculty members Heath Fuller, Gail Marlene Schwartz and Norm Whittle received Teaching Excellence Awards.

CCV welcomed keynote speaker Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids, Vermont’s campaign to ensure equitable access to high-quality, affordable child care for all Vermont children. Aly took to the podium bursting with enthusiasm and admiration for the graduates in front of her. “I look out at all of you and I see the Vermont that I want to live in. Hardworking, diverse, problem-solvers. Thoughtful, determined trailblazers…a community of good humans. I’m pinching myself that you all let me have the best seat in the house today to help you all celebrate your incredible accomplishments.”

CCV President Joyce Judy and keynote speaker Aly Richards, CEO of Let's Grow Kids
Jade PremontCCV President Joyce Judy and keynote speaker Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids.

Aly shared of her journey of becoming a student member of the Vermont State Board of Education, the apprehension that came with that step, and the lesson that she learned: she belonged. “Let me tell you, whatever table you’re hoping to get a seat at, those folks don’t know more than you. You belong at the table, and the table is richer for having you there,” she said. “To all of our graduates today: Vermont is so grateful to all of you. Grateful for your dedication to your communities, your families, and your education…find your table, because there is a seat for you.”

Full Ceremony


Flickr Album: 2024 Commencement

Media Coverage

Rutland Herald
Bennington Banner
Valley News


CCV President Joyce Judy
CCV Student Speaker Caitlin McGinley

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