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Greenfield Community College

Sen. Stan Rosenberg promises to keep fighting for GCC in Senate

  • Greenfield Community College president Robert Pura.

    Greenfield Community College president Robert Pura.

  • Greenfield Community College president Robert Pura.

GREENFIELD — State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg told a crowd of Greenfield Community College supporters Friday that — assuming he succeeds Therese Murray as the next Senate president, as expected — he will continue looking out for the interests of the college and western Massachusetts as a whole.

The Amherst Democrat said that while it will be a position that requires his statewide leadership, he intends “to make sure I do it with a twang.”

Rosenberg, the guest speaker at Friday’s annual GCC Foundation meeting, congratulated the college on its first $1 million gift — an anonymous donation made this June that will provide 23 annual nursing scholarships and a career adviser. On top of that, the foundation’s annual fund campaign brought in an additional $954,330 this year.

He noted that the community support, the college’s 2011 campus core expansion and a consistently strong academic performance all came at a time when officials in Boston wondered if the school was too small to operate.

“You’ve really developed a jewel in the crown of higher education ... and you should feel extremely good about it,” said Rosenberg. “GCC is the number one community college in Massachusetts.”

In a quick summary of the view from Beacon Hill, Rosenberg said that state seems to be getting back on its feet after the Great Recession and is beginning to restore funding to areas like higher education. He hopes that the Legislature will continue that trend this year.

He fielded questions on federal agriculture laws that may put Massachusetts farmers in a bind. And in response to a stated desire for more sustainability initiatives, he challenged anyone interested to work with the college and their neighbors to develop a plan to bring to legislators.

Other questions focused on the recent statewide surge of homeless families — 60 of whom were placed into Greenfield hotels last month.

The state is taking a “whole series of small steps, small pieces that can together make a big difference,” said Rosenberg. “We need as much help as we can (get). The situation is really awful.”

In his introduction of the state senator, GCC President Robert Pura said that the foundation meeting would not have met in the college’s dining commons — a key part of the core expansion — had it not been for Rosenberg’s support.

“He was among that group that stood up for this college and this space,” said Pura. “This room is exactly as a result of what the senator has done.”

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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