GCC graduate Andrew M. Curran is one of “29 Who Shine,” a group of outstanding Massachusetts public college and university graduates honored by the Department of Higher Education at a State House ceremony. Every year, one graduate from each of the 29 Massachusetts public campuses is recognized based on their academic achievements and record of student leadership and community service. Andrew, nominated for the award by GCC President Bob Pura, graduated from GCC in December and now studies film at Amherst College.
Commenting on Andrew, President Pura said, “Andrew’s intelligence and passionate commitment to social justice are just two of the qualities that make him a shining example of the GCC student body. His long and winding journey brought him to GCC where he found clear purpose and meaning. Andrews faculty saw his potential even before he did and together they worked to achieve it. His focused hard work at GCC opened the doors to Amherst College where he is again a beacon for academic success and social change.”
Andrew, 28, of Greenfield, brought to GCC classes his experience of working for years and an astute social class analysis based on theoretical and practical knowledge. Andrew’s passion for film and social justice began as a teenager when he worked at a video store in his hometown of Concord, MA and was involved in the active intellectual community of store employees and customers. That community exposed him to a wide range of perspectives, including international films and films that look critically at American culture, history, and politics.
The GCC community gave Andrew the confidence and motivation to succeed academically. “At GCC,” Andrew said, “the educational environment is very encouraging and accommodating. In my GCC classes, the focus was on real discussion where the faculty treat students as peers and help us all work through a subject.”
Assistant Professor of English Trevor Kearns, Andrew’s mentor, said “Andrew is one of the most impressive students I’ve seen come through GCC. He’s able to make immediate and insightful connections between new ideas and his already formidable knowledge of history, society, and film. No armchair intellectual, Andrew consistently translates his passion into action. And, Andrew’s warmth and wit make him a pleasure to work with, teach, and learn alongside.”
Andrew participated in a GCC sociology class (Crime and Punishment in the U.S.), based on the international Inside-Out program, which brings college students inside jails to study alongside incarcerated students. Andrew served as President of the Peace, Justice and Environmental Action Alliance and helped facilitate a film series on environmental issues. He also was founder and a leader of the GCC Film Society, a student club that holds weekly screenings and discussions.
Looking ahead, Andrew said, “I would like to use film to make something that is both entertaining and carries a strong, positive message. Media has such a wide reach, both in the number of people who see films and in how persuasive it can be.”
Andrew, President Pura and Assistant Professor Kearns participated in the 29 Who Shine Student Recognition Ceremony at the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts State House on May 2.
For information about 29 Who Shine, visit www.mass.edu/29whoshine/home.asp.
By Mary McClintock, ’82