March 29, 2021 Duc Tinh

Winsted – Northwestern Connecticut Community College has announced it will provide a drive-through commencement experience for its May 2021 graduating class on the grounds of the Five Points Center For The Visual Arts on University Drive in Torrington. This will be the 55th degree awarding commencement for the campus that was founded in 1965.

“In an effort to maintain safety protocols for everyone involved, we thought this would be a great option for celebrating our 55th commencement exercises,” said Dr. Michael A. Rooke, Northwestern president. “Last year we were highly restricted and provided a video format only. We are very happy that we can provide a more involved event for our graduates in 2021,” he said.

Each graduate will be allowed one vehicle and must RSVP to the event, Rooke said. There will be a small platform party socially distanced at one corner of the parking lot where the graduates’ names will be read. Students will drive up, accept their diploma and then exit the parking lot.

“Five Points is excited to host Northwestern’s 55th commencement ceremony at the new Five Points Art Center,” said Judy McElhone, Five Points Executive Director and retired long time Northwestern fine art lecturer. “Our long-standing partnership with the college’s faculty, staff and students is a source of pride as we continue to work together for the betterment of our community,” she said.

Guest Speaker for the event will be Brian Mattiello, Regional Vice President for Strategy & Community Development at Hartford Healthcare, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. Mattiello provided a few words of encouragement for the 2020 graduates on video and is looking forward to extending his congratulations at this year’s outdoor event.

“Throughout the pandemic Northwestern has worked to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Rooke. “While we are encouraged with the progress the state has made with reopening, we are excited to be able to provide a venue for our students that will provide more of a celebration without compromising anyone’s safety. I thank Five Points for being so accommodating and open to Northwestern and the needs of our students.”