Diane Esser, class of 1971, passed away on February 26th of this year. An important member of the GCC family, Diane was a champion of the College. Even before she became a multi-term member of the GCC Foundation Board of Directors in the late 90s, later leading it as President, she worked to open the doors to education for all who aspired to something better in their lives. After all, she herself did – enrolling as a single parent, she came to GCC eager to work hard so that she could create a better life for herself and her family.
And while she was here, she earned much more than credits and a degree, she discovered the intelligence, the power and the compassion that existed within her. She also, while at GCC, met her husband of 47 years, Wilson Roberts. Eventually, across four decades and three generations, the Roberts/Esser family became one big GCC family: all five of their children and, so far, two of their grandchildren attended the College.
Diane went on from GCC to receive her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and her law degree from Boston University – succeeding at every turn. But her heart was always with GCC. Just as her opportunity led to success, she wanted to provide for others all she had experienced and found here at this college. So many lives have changed for the better as a result. The door was open to a better life for Diane, and so she spent the better part of her life giving back and opening the doors for others.
Diane was a force of nature – passionate about justice – social justice, economic justice, legal justice – and she knew that education was one of the most significant paths towards that end. In fact, she was so smart, strong and courageous about her commitment to justice – she put her heart and soul into reinventing it.
So many feel her loss so deeply. But for every one who feels her absence, there are countless others – who have never met Diane – whose life is better as the result of her work and passionate commitment to create a just and better world for all. Diane will be missed by her GCC family, but how blessed are those whose life she touched.