“I wish I could be there,” said Jim Lawlor GCC ’64, UMass ’67. “I was in the first graduating class at GCC. I was a member of the Student Council as Treasurer my first year and President my second year, and worked with Directors Taylor and Turner. GCC was instrumental in getting me on the right track, opening my eyes to a future beyond my home town area and gave me the confidence to move ahead. I reinvented myself at GCC. Have a great celebration.”
Those were the words Lawlor used when replying to the invitation from GCC to attend the Community Celebration for GCC 50th following Commencement activities on June 3rd. He has been a long way in time and distance since he joined the stalwart group who enrolled in GCC’s very first classes in September, 1962, but his heart and memories are clearly anchored to his first college experience.
“The Federal St School wasn’t quite ready when classes began, so we had to meet in the hall at nearby St. James Church for a few weeks,” he recalled. He describes GCC as a “learning experience that was truly that” and noted how that set it apart from both his secondary and subsequent post-secondary educational experiences. He recalls fondly the ability to interact with peers, faculty and administration in a very collegial atmosphere.
In looking back at the half century that has passed since his GCC days, Lawlor is confident that his successful career as a consultant to US Defense Department clients found its roots at GCC, where he learned to learn and comprehend beyond the obvious. He is currently employed by Booz Allen Hamilton in Virginia and over the decades has worked in different parts of the country with national firms such as Wang, Proctor & Gamble, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC. At these, and during his time serving in the National Guard, Lawlor has been able to put to use the academic, communication and leadership strengths that GCC discovered hidden inside him and brought to forefront.