Grinspoon Awards Recognize Entrepreneurial Spirit of GCC Students

Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – and honored – at Greenfield Community College. On April 30, two GCC students received the Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $1,000 from the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) at The Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative Awards Ceremony and Banquet. Laura DiLuzio won for her DiLuzio Business Services and Brian Llewelyn won for his line of sportswear, Bull-Cross Racing. Since 2004, a total of 45 GCC students have won more than $40,000 from this Foundation. The Entrepreneurship Initiative is one of several initiatives supported by the philanthropy of Longmeadow, MA resident and businessman, Harold Grinspoon, and includes all of the Pioneer Valley’s institutions of higher education.

The Grinspoon Ceremony included an “Elevator Pitch” Contest in which one representative from each of the 15 Pioneer Valley schools had 90 seconds to address 500 people and convince a team of bankers and venture capitalists to fund their new business idea. This year, GCC student Scott Abdow won third place and $600 in the competition for his vision of an event-based gaming store called “Game On!”

Laura DiLuzio, 31 of Northfield, started working as a bookkeeper when she was 17 years old and has worked as an independent contractor since 2009, providing bookkeeping and other business services to area small businesses. Continuing to add to her client base, Laura recently expanded her services to include organizing bridal fairs and trade shows. She used her award to purchase equipment for her business.

Laura began studying at GCC in fall 2013, at the same time her daughter, now three years old, started school. Laura went to GCC both to set an example for her daughter and to find the next step in her career. She is studying toward Business Administration Transfer and Accounting degrees and a Computer Assisted Bookkeeping Certificate and plans to transfer to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At GCC, Laura has been involved with the Business Club and the Reality Fair for area high school seniors.

Laura said, “Since starting taking courses at GCC, I have learned a great deal and gained valuable friendships. In my marketing class we used one of my clients as a case study and prepared a marketing plan for them. GCC helped me provide a valuable service for my client. I am honored to receive the Grinspoon award and to have my hard work recognized.”

Brian Llewelyn, 19 of Northfield, is in his first year at GCC studying Business and working toward an Entrepreneurship Certificate. Brian began his sportswear business, Bull-Cross Racing, in 2011 with a $100 loan from his mother. Brian designs and sells shirts, hats, and accessories, targeting those who are just starting in motocross competition and do not have corporate sponsors. He used that first $100 to produce sportswear, sold out within a week and repaid his mother’s loan. This spring, Brian took GCC’s Fundamentals of Fashion & Textiles course where he created a new sweatshirt design specifically geared toward the needs of those who ride motorcross. He used his Grinspoon Award to invest in new products.

Brian said, “The Fashion & Textiles class at GCC helped me figure out my target market and this award has helped more people learn about my business. My goal is to help kids who race but are not going to make it into the pros feel like a pro.”

Commenting on Laura and Brian’s Grinspoon Awards, GCC Professor of Economics & Business Thom Simmons said, “Laura and Brian aren’t just studying about business, they are running businesses, applying their learning to the real world. In class, Laura and Brian have provided concrete examples for other students of practical applications of the skills and knowledge they learn at GCC.”

For more information about the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards and Entrepreneurship education at GCC, contact Business Department Chair Thom Simmons, 413-775-1482.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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Governor Patrick and Education Leaders honor Community College, State University and UMass Graduates for Contributions to the Commonwealth

Greenfield Community College student Ernest A. Baird 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 on May 8. Every year, one graduate from each of the 29 Massachusetts public campuses is recognized for their academic achievements and record of student leadership and community service. Ernie, 42, of Northampton, will graduate from GCC this spring with an Associate in Science degree with a concentration in Engineering Science. Nominated for the award by GCC President Bob Pura, Ernie will transfer to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to study toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. He plans to pursue a career as a chemical engineer.

This is Ernie’s second time at GCC. In the late 1990s, Ernie started at GCC right after finishing high school. He wasn’t ready for college, did not do well, and did not continue with his education. For many years, Ernie worked at a local manufacturing business, driving a forklift and loading trucks. Ernie is married and has a six-year-old son. He worked hard, yet realized he was living paycheck to paycheck and had an essentially “empty resume” that provided no way for him to move into a better paying job. Ernie decided to try GCC again. At GCC, Ernie has realized math and science are easy and enjoyable for him. With the support of GCC’s faculty and staff, Ernie has excelled in his classes and in his work as a Peer Tutor.

Commenting on Ernie, President Pura said, “Ernie’s journey is one of great courage. His is also the story of how significant GCC is in forging economic mobility and strengthening the middle class in our community. Ernie demonstrated great courage, grit and wisdom coming back to GCC to create a better life for himself and his family. Ernie then excelled in math, science, and engineering. He will now transfer to UMass ready to take it to the next level. Ernie will ultimately work as an Engineer here in the Valley. From stockroom clerk to engineer doing the work he loves; that is the stuff dreams are built on. We are so proud of Ernie and are privileged to have played a role in his journey.”

Associate Professor of Mathematics Ian Winokur, Ernie’s mentor, said, “Ernie is a superstar. He got straight A’s only because A+ isn’t offered as a grade at GCC. Ernie combines strong mathematics ability with great skill at helping those who struggle with math. As a classmate and Peer Tutor, Ernie is able to meet students wherever they are in their understanding of math and explain mathematical concepts at just the right level for them to move forward. Ernie has a great rapport with students of all ages and abilities and enjoys helping them with math. Through his work as a Peer Tutor, Ernie has helped countless GCC students increase their math skills.”

Ernie appreciates the support he’s received at GCC. He said, “I was 39 and very intimidated when I walked into my first class at GCC. The instructor, Ian Winokur, was welcoming and made me feel like I belonged. I had never imagined being able to get a college degree. Ian’s teaching and support changed that. Now, I’m on my way to being a chemical engineer.”

Ernie and Ian participated in the 29 Who Shine Student Recognition Ceremony on May 8. For information about 29 Who Shine, visit

By Mary McClintock, ’82


Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan Appointed to Board of Trustees

Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan has been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve as a member of the Greenfield Community College Board of Trustees. Donelan’s five-year term will run until March 1, 2019. Donelan was elected Sheriff of Franklin County in November, 2010 and sworn into office in January, 2011. Prior to that, Donelan represented the 2nd Franklin District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for four terms starting in 2002. During two of his terms in the legislature, Donelan served on the House Committee on Higher Education. While on that Committee, he secured the funding for construction of the new library and dining facility at GCC and spearheaded the most comprehensive reform ever in college credit transfers among Massachusetts state colleges. Donelan is a life-long resident of Orange, MA and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Westfield State and a Master of Public Administration Degree from American International College in Springfield. Donelan fills a Trustee position left vacant by the end of Franklin County Register of Deeds Scott Cote’s term on the Board.

Both GCC President Bob Pura and GCC Board of Trustees Chair Rob Cohn expressed enthusiasm for Donelan’s appointment. Pura said, “From his earliest days growing up in Franklin County until now, Chris has committed himself in service to the people of our community. I look forward to working with Chris, now in his new role as a Trustee, in meeting the mandates of our mission.”

GCC Board Chair Rob Cohn said, “I am thrilled by this appointment. Chris has been a great leader as a State Representative and as Sheriff. He is proactive and personable and really knows what is going on in the county and the state. Chris’s record of strong service to Franklin County speaks for itself. He will be a great addition to our already very strong board.”

Commenting on his appointment, Donelan said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to be a temporary steward of one of the most important institutions in Franklin County. Hopes and dreams are realized at GCC every day, and I will put all of my experience to work for the benefit of the people who attend there.”

Sheriff Donelan began his career as a police officer. He spent a total of ten years in uniform working for two communities – Orange and South Hadley. He continued his career in public safety with a job working as a probation officer in Orange District Court. He helped establish the first Drug Court in Western Massachusetts. He spent four years working in the Trial Court before moving to the Community Corrections Center in Greenfield to take on the position of Probation Officer in Charge. During his time on Beacon Hill, Representative Donelan served on the Public Safety Committee, one session as the Vice Chair. He also served on the Ways and Means Committee, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, and Higher Education Committee.

Reflecting on Scott Cote’s time on the Board, GCC Board of Trustees Chair Rob Cohn said “Scott has been a sound voice on every issue he’s dealt with during his time on the Board, especially on matters of academic affairs. His legal background has been invaluable for our strong and diverse Board. He will be sorely missed.”

Pura concurred with Cohn’s comment, saying “Scott Cote has served GCC extremely well during the 12 years he was on the Board. His steady and grounded leadership on the Academic Committee was the foundation on which years of decisions regarding tenure, change in rank and emeritus status were made. Those are core decisions to the integrity of our academic programs and fundamental to our students’ experience. I have grown to appreciate, respect and like Scott as a lawyer, public servant and member of our Board.”

Ending twelve years on the GCC Board, Franklin County Register of Deeds Scott Cote said, “I am truly honored to have served the best community college in the country. The college is blessed to have such leadership and commitment with President Pura and fellow community leaders who are willing to serve. I have learned and experienced so much the past 12 years and remain committed to GCC as they gave me my start. Although I am sad to leave I know Christopher Donelan is the perfect person to replace me. His work ethic, vision and commitment to education matches mine so we are lucky to have him.”

By Mary McClintock, ’82

What Working Professionals are Saying About GCC’s Online Computer & Business Courses. . .

What can working professionals learn through GCC’s online computer and business courses?

“An incredible number of useful business tools and techniques that make our students very valuable in the workplace and the ‘go to’ people for the Office suite,” according to GCC Computer and Information Systems (CIS) faculty member Doug Wilkins. “Many students taking our online courses tell me how the skills they’ve learned in our courses help them with the demands of their jobs. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the students are saying.”

 Brandon Lively, Vice-President, Information Systems, Greenfield Co-operative Bank, Greenfield

GCC graduate with Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems

“GCC Computer Information Systems classes, both online and on campus, have helped me grow as a professional. Classes that have had the most significant impact for my work include:

Microcomputer Software Tools I (Excel and PowerPoint) - I was able to improve efficiencies and work flows by taking advantage of what I learned to improve or create new internal spreadsheets. The Information Security PowerPoint presentation I created for my final class project is still in use at the Bank.

Relational Database Design – I created a complex but user-friendly database for our HR department that could generate benefit statements, vacation schedules, and various employee reports as well as track training and compensation for each employee.”

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Madeleine Roberts, Assistant to the Director of Business Intelligence at Fazzi Associates, a home health care coding firm, Northampton

Student at GCC, majoring in Accounting and earning certificates in Office Administration / Computer Information Systems and Bookkeeping 

“Online courses I have taken at GCC include Computer Programming Principles and Concepts, Microcomputer Software Tools II (Excel and PowerPoint), Creative Writing, and Microeconomics.  PowerPoint has been very useful in my new position at Fazzi Associates.”

* * *

Clinton Stone, Realtor, Sawicki Real Estate, Amherst

Student at GCC, studying toward certificate in Entrepreneurship

“I have done so well with the variety of ways to take classes at GCC that I plan on finishing my certificate and then moving on to an Associates in Business at GCC. Professionally, I have learned great tools to implement in my career to gain a greater reach to my clients and the community.”  

* * *

Amberlyn Beausoleil, Office Manager, Bostley Sanitary Services, Colrain

Studying toward Associates Degree in Office Management, graduating Fall 2014

“I use things I learned at GCC every day in my job, especially Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. I have also taken my accounting classes online, learned about the accounting process and then use Quickbooks in my job.”

* * *

Karen Maurice, Full-time Medical Record Auditor, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton

GCC Adjunct Faculty

“I have learned a lot about Word with Doug’s expertise. I am finding it very helpful with my day job as a medical record auditor!”

* * *

Adam Gleason, Financial Specialist for Second Wind Consultants, Northampton

“These classes (Microcomputer Software Tools II – Excel and PowerPoint  and Programming) directly apply to a new skill set I can use to improve the way we operate. For a small company, we need to take advantage of such opportunities for improvement as often as possible.”

* * *

Randy Andrews, Proprietor, Andrews Cleaning service, Northampton

Studying toward Accounting degree, will receive Computer Aided Bookkeeping certificate this semester

“I have taken Microcomputer Software Tools I and II, Relational Database Design, and  Principles of Financial Accounting I and II online. I am using the skills I’ve learned to start a bookkeeping and tax service. For example, I’ve designed letterhead and a business card, mail merged sales letters, and created spreadsheets to calculate depreciation and a customer prospect database for my small business.” 

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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GCC Student Finalist in Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

Abigail Friel’s photograph of a young girl bottle feeding a lamb is one of 60 finalists selected from over 50,000 photographs submitted by photographers from 132 countries to Smithsonian Magazine’s 11th Annual Photo Contest. Friel’s photo, “Feeding time on Hettie Belle Farm” (Warwick, MA, February 2013, Nikon D5100), is one of ten finalists in the Americana category and is being considered for the Reader’s Choice award. Voting for the Reader’s Choice winner is until May 6 at 6 p.m. and Smithsonian will announce the Reader’s Choice, Grand Prize and six Category winners on May 15.

Friel, 36, formerly of Hatfield, works as a farmer and now lives near Portland, ME. Except for the GCC Art Student Exhibit, Friel had never exhibited her photography or entered any contests before entering the Smithsonian contest “on a whim.” She took the photo after studying digital photography (ART 151 Photography Foundation) with Assistant Professor Joan O’Beirne at Greenfield Community College. Prior to taking the course at GCC, Friel had taken several analog photography classes in college many years ago. Friel’s winning photo was exhibited as part of the GCC Art Student Exhibit in April 2013 and purchased by the GCC Art Department after that exhibit. The work is set to go on display in the college next year.

“Photography seems to come naturally to Abigail,” said O’Beirne. “From the beginning of class to the final project she was making beautiful photographs. I found it interesting that she often didn’t realize how good her images were!”

Friel appreciates what she learned at GCC, saying “I feel much more comfortable with my camera than I did at the start of Joan’s class and I really enjoyed her lectures and presentations on famous photographers. The critique sessions were also very interesting.”

Commenting on the subject of her winning photograph, Friel said, “The little girl in my photo is the daughter of a friend of a friend in Massachusetts. I had heard they had some newborn lambs and asked if I could go out to the farm and take some pictures. The mutual friend and I spent the afternoon with the two little girls and their dad. There were two lambs who were not gaining enough weight and had to be supplemented with bottle feeding.”

Looking ahead, Friel said, “I plan to continue taking classes and taking photos and see what happens. The GCC photo program is really outstanding, and I wish I could have taken more classes there.”

Photography Foundation (ART 151) is the first in a series of photography courses in GCC’s Art Department. It is an introduction to digital photography where students learn the visual, critical, and technical aspects of photography. They learn to use the DSLR, shooting, basic editing in Adobe Camera RAW, and ultimately produce a body of printed work. Students learn how to read photographs and become fluent in this form of visual language. Students generally possess a range of abilities in the foundation class: some come to the class with little or no knowledge of digital photography, while younger students may have studied photography in high school.

The 60 finalists in the Smithsonian contest are posted on the contest website at:

The GCC 2014 Art Student Exhibit, an annual exhibition and celebration of the work of current GCC art majors is open through May 9 in GCC’s South Gallery on the Main Campus. Information about the GCC Art Department is available at

By Mary McClintock, ’82