Student achievers recognized at ‘29 Who Shine’ event

Guinevere Arthur Vanhorne, who volunteered at food pantries and soup kitchens while attending Greenfield Community College, with mentor Jay Gump, a faculty member in the college’s science department. Guinevere Arthur Vanhorne, who volunteered at food pantries and soup kitchens while attending Greenfield Community College, with mentor Jay Gump, a faculty member in the college’s science department.

One student helped create a health clinic for homeless people in his community. Another organized voter registration drives, and yet another launched an electronics recycling program on his college campus.

These are just a few of the accomplishments of the student achievers who were recognized on Thursday, May 14, at the annual “29 Who Shine” event at the State House.

Each of the state’s 29 public colleges and universities — 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five UMass campuses — names one graduating student who has demonstrated not only excellent academic achievement but strong civic engagement.

The event also honors the mentors named by each of the recipients as having been important to their success.

Department of Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland, Board of Higher Education Chairman Chris Gabrieli, Secretary of Education James Peyser and Governor Charlie Baker addressed the honorees and those in the audience supporting them.

To see a complete list of the honorees and their mentors, click here.

MTA President Barbara Madeloni spoke at a reception for the students and their mentors, saying that the bonds that were formed between them represent the very fabric of education.

“You have been challenged and supported by your mentors,” she told the students. “Learning and teaching are all about relationships.”

She also reflected on all of the good work the honorees were doing in their communities, saying such commitment demonstrates the mission of public education: focusing on students’ personal growth as well as on their academic goals.

She closed her remarks by asking those in attendance to think about the “public” in public higher education. She said the Commonwealth should "support the contract that we have with each other in providing a quality public education."

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