In January this year, GCC Executive Director Regina Curtis traveled to Northern California to visit with members, and good friends, of the College community.
The Rogers Family – The initial and celebratory reason for the trip was the 100th birth anniversary of Mary Stuart Rogers. The Carnation Company heiress passed away in 1993, leaving the philanthropic foundation she founded, which – among countless other good deeds – provides ongoing support to women students in transition at GCC as well as annual scholarships for incoming students from Franklin County’s eight high schools.
Mary Stuart Rogers granddaughter, Janet Rogers, and her wife, Bev Phelps (GCC class of ‘89 ) divide their time between their home in Ashfield and California, where Janet’s parents, John and June (with whom Janet helps manage the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation) are active members of their Modesto community, volunteering and providing support for educational, faith based and health care institutions.
Janet and Bev are familiar faces on the GCC campus, where they come each year to present the high school scholarships and visit with staff and participants in the College’s Mary Stuart Rogers Women’s Resource Center.
The Rogers Family were welcoming and giving of their hospitality throughout the trip. Although Regina was familiar with their philanthropic spirit and the impact they have had on the success of GCC students over the past years, it was this visit, watching them “walk the walk” every day that exemplified their kindness and generosity and underscored how good people can truly help change the world.
Carles Pi-Sunyer ’90 – Regina was able to expand her visit with the Rogers family to include lunch in Palo Alto with another GCC alum. Carles Pi-Sunyer is employed as a software engineer at Google, where his work touches the lives of millions of people every day. He came to the company following a Silicon Valley career that included stints at AOL and Linked In.
Carles’ work transforming the way people communicate started at Greenfield Community College. He found his GCC experience “totally transformative.” The sense that just because high school hadn’t worked didn’t mean that academics wouldn’t work was a huge discovery for him.
After graduating from GCC, he found the University of California Santa Cruz and fell in love with the school. He went on to earn his B.A. and M.S. degrees from that institution before beginning his career in the tech industry.
Over lunch, Carles reflected on his journey from GCC to Google, noting “sometimes life just takes you there” and that one of the lessons learned at GCC opened his heart and mind to all of the opportunities to follow: there’s always another path for you if you look for it.
Carles gives back to the institution that welcomed and transformed him with a gift each year to the GCC Foundation in support of students and programs at the College. His caring tribute ensures that lives will continue to be changed, as his was, at Greenfield Community College.