3 former students join GCC’s trustees
Gov. taps women with deep roots in region
GREENFIELD — Three former Greenfield Community College students have been named to the school’s board of trustees by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Patricia Crosby of Gill, Mary Clare Higgins of Northampton, and Amy Holich-Dunn of Greenfield were appointed this week.
“Each of these three bring a depth and breadth of experience along with great intelligence and heart,” said GCC President Robert Pura.
Crosby has been the executive director of the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board since 2001. There, she has been in charge or involved in several workforce development projects.
“I am happy to be associated with GCC,” said Crosby. “I bring my personal commitment to the idea of community colleges, their accessibility, and their role as a stepping stone.”
She has experience at community colleges as both a student and a faculty member. She earned an associate’s degree from GCC, and went on to receive a master’s degree in teaching from Brown University. From 1991 to 2001, Crosby worked at Springfield Technical Community College. She held several positions, including director of special projects development, occupational education liaison, and also wrote and managed the implementation of more than $1 million in grants to the school.
Crosby has also worked in numerous community positions, with the Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee, and others.
“Few know more about those seeking work in our community than Patricia,” said Pura. “She is deeply committed to making connections between our community’s need for an educated work force and those in our community who seek work.”
Higgins has also served the community in several capacities, most notably as a six-term mayor of Northampton.
She is now the executive director of Community Action, a social service agency serving the poor in Franklin and Hampshire counties. She is also a member of the boards of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, and the Massachusetts Association for Education and Care. She’s also been a union representative for the local day care and human service branch of the United Auto Workers.
“In her role at Community Action, (Higgins) has the best understanding of the needs of people in our community who live at the edges of hope,” said Pura. “She also brings a wealth of understanding about how government works.”
The former mayor went to GCC in the early 1990s, after many years out of school.
“GCC was an integral part of helping me move on to the next phase of education,” said Higgins. After GCC, she went on to earn a bachelor’s in education and public policy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Holich-Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Smith College, after receiving an associate’s degree in graphic design. She has remained involved at both schools; she has worked for Smith in different capacities, as a draftsperson and engineering aide, manager of customer service operations, and in the school’s physical plant.
She is now the assistant director of programs and events for Smith’s Office of Alumnae Relations.
In addition to her recent appointment, Holich-Dunn serves on the board of directors of GCC’s Alumni Association. In that role, she seeks to help students and graduates form lasting ties with GCC.
“I would love to engage alumni who are local business owners to become mentors for GCC students and recent alumni,” said Holich-Dunn. “I also hope to help students understand that when they leave GCC, the GCC experience and community doesn’t stop. There is much more to be had from GCC, and a lot to give back to the college.”
She knows that first-hand through her involvement with alumni associations at GCC and Smith.
“(Amy) serves as the voice of all of GCC’s alumni,” said Pura. “Her experience of transferring from GCC to Smith College is one she shares with many other women who have attended GCC. She brings a clear understanding of the transfer process to her work on the board.”
“The board and I are extremely pleased to have these three superstars on the GCC board,” said Rob Cohn, chairman of the board of trustees. “Patricia, Clare, and Amy bring a broad range of experience to help the board be even more able to engage with and serve our community.”
David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279