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A Newsletter for Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Greenfield Community College and the GCC Foundation

The Stuff That Dreams Are Built On

Posted on Monday May 6th 2013

GCC President Robert Pura - photo by Gerald Martins
GCC President Robert Pura - photo by Gerald Martins
GCC President Robert Pura - photo by Gerald Martins

President Franklin D. Roosevelt invested in public works projects to create jobs for unemployed Americans. The Great Depression demonstrated that spending on the infrastructure of our country could be an instrument of social policy and change. The investments were viewed as an economic catalyst. That policy and those investments created jobs, put people back to work and strengthened the economy.

GCC President Robert Pura – photo by Gerald Martins

When World War II ended, the United States went back to work rebuilding our nation. Schools, roads, bridges, transportation, colleges and libraries were being built within newly developed communities. Each community connected to the state and each state connecting to a nation united by new roads and a new interstate highway system. Individual sacrifice was the foundation on which the United States was being rebuilt.

In turn, the dreams of a nation for social and economic mobility were being realized creating a stronger middle class.

By 1980, however, that infrastructure was eroding. In 1981, economists Pat Choate and Susan Walter wrote in their book America in Ruins that our libraries, schools, colleges, roads and bridges were indeed wearing out and reduced spending on the infrastructure was to blame for many of the country’s economic and social problems. Our nation’s schools had eroded to a point that educator Jonathan Kozol wrote that savage inequalities were the inevitable outcome.

Our challenge now, just as it was during the Depression and post WW II America, even in this fiscal environment, is to work together to rebuild the infrastructure so as to turn our most recent transgressions of inequity into a future of equal opportunity. Public Education (PK- Higher Education) is, as President Obama has said, “no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite.”

From Hurricanes Katrina to Sandy, nature has taken its toll on our cities and towns – and the people who live in them. Many in our community know firsthand the fears and frustrations of roads and bridges closed by Tropical Storm Irene.

…believe that the sort of life you wish to live is, at this very moment, just waiting for you to summon it. And when you wish for it, you begin moving toward it, and it, in turn begins moving toward you.

- Suzan Lori Parks

Far too many know similar fears and frustrations as the doors to opportunity are closing every day. It is as if a banner with the words “Do Not Enter” is placed across the entry at Ellis Island.

At a time of a decreasing middle class; at a time of increasing isolation and decreasing hope; at a time when our nation does not seem to act on its stated egalitarian values – our college and this community has always and will always – strive for something better.

Democracy does not flourish in a separate and unequal society; it is the outcome of our collective commitment to provide a good education for all. GCC holds out that lantern and provides hope for our students and this community.

The pathway to social and economic mobility in our community does pass through the doors of Greenfield Community College. There are many right now who are talking the talk about the American Dream. Few however, walk the walk that GCC students, their families, our faculty and staff and this community do – together. On behalf of all at GCC, thank you for all that you do to make good on the promise of a nation and help to create the stuff that dreams are built on.

GCC receives VIP treatment from Springfield Armor


GCC President Bob Pura hosted a great evening of “GCC Night at the Springfield Armor” with a road trip on March 21st to a basketball game at the Mass Mutual Center. Members of our community joined GCC alumni and employees for a wonderful night of VIP treatment, including reserved courtside seating, dinner and great camaraderie while watching this area’s minor league basketball team play to win. This sold-out game was the Springfield Armor’s final home game of the season.

GCC Art Program: Welcome to “Face Nook”


For the past 5 years, an anonymous donor has supplied a $100 award to a GCC painting student each semester to be used to purchase painting supplies. In return, the students have created a miniature self-portrait on a canvas supplied by the donor. Award recipients are art program majors, nominated by the painting faculty, who have demonstrated a commitment to the medium and are producing work of a high standard. We are pleased to announce two exciting opportunities related to this initiative:

1. A collection of these mini portraits will now be offered for sale as part of a unique fundraising exhibit to benefit GCC’s Art Department, hosted by Nina’s Nook in Turners Falls in November 2014.

2. In addition to the existing collection, current and former painting students of the college are also invited to submit their work in this event using 6″ square canvases. The exhibit, to be called “Face Nook,” will open November 14 and close December 6. All work must be delivered to Nina’s Nook by November 5, either in person to the gallery or shipped to: Nina Rossi, 21 Central St, Turners Falls MA 01376. For details contact Nina Rossi,