In our 37-minute conversation, Kevin McGreal used the word “learn”—as in “wanted to learn,” “fascinated by learning,” and “passionate about learning”—more than 15 times. Kevin is striking in his humility, his honesty, and his easy sense of humor, but more than anything else, he is so obviously hungry to learn.
He took CCV classes here and there beginning in 2017, but when COVID struck, so did the desire to be a full-time student. He’d been working in food service, but had vulnerable family members at home. Plus, he felt like having a degree would buffer him from future uncertainty. “I need to have something that makes me more employable,” he remembers thinking.
Driven by his eagerness to learn, and also to be of service to his community, Kevin joined a number of groups and committees at CCV and the Vermont State Colleges (VSC). “I wanted to get involved wherever students could,” he said.
Kevin’s résumé of extracurriculars is impressive. He first joined the Student Advisory and Leadership Council, or SALC, in 2021. “I loved the people and felt really good about the work we were trying to do,” he said. He signed up for the DEI Committee, served on CCV’s Academic Council, and was elected president of CCV’s chapter of the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He served as student facilitator for the New Student Orientation Committee and supported the work of CCV’s recently formed BIPOC student affinity group. He also participated in a number of VSC initiatives, including the student group that developed an anti-racism pledge and the advisory council working on the System-wide transformation.
He’s motivated, he says, by “being called to have an impact and make a difference. I felt like if this is the path I want to go I should get my feet wet, walk the walk, so it kind of made sense. And it felt good to be doing that work and know that we’re trying to make a difference for students.”
“My whole life I’ve just wanted to understand how the world worked, and understand people. People are my power animal. I just feel so much love for everything. I see how hard people work. When people are coming together and able to be fulfilled and be in community and be happy, you know, that’s what I want for the world.”
Kevin’s commitment to improving the student experience at CCV and across the Vermont State Colleges led to his nomination for student speaker at this year’s commencement. Faculty member Melissa Holmes, who nominated Kevin, wrote that “he is a voice for his generation on demanding diversity and inclusion on college campuses and beyond.”
“I’m so honored,” Kevin says of being selected to speak. “I’m really glad because I’ve gotten to see so many different sides of the school. I’m excited to be able to share that perspective…I hope that I can kind of capture the effort that students have put in.”
Kyle Clark, founder and CEO of BETA Technologies, will give this year’s keynote address.
Kevin has been accepted to Columbia University, where he may transfer to study economics or political science. He will address his classmates at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 3rd at Norwich University. Governor Scott will be in attendance, and will also offer remarks. This year’s keynote speaker is Kyle Clark, founder and CEO of BETA Technologies, the South Burlington-based company working to electrify aviation.
CCV will also honor students, faculty, and community members at commencement. This year’s Community Service Award will be given to Lois and Bob Frey, who have supported dozens of CCV students through the scholarship fund established in memory of their daughter, CCV alumna Jennifer Frey. Faculty members Mary Ann Boyd, Stephanie Bush, and Lou Colasanti will receive the 2023 Teaching Excellence Awards.
To learn more about celebrating the Class of 2023, visit ccv.edu/graduation.