A way with words: GCC’s Bob Pura waxing poetic down to his final days as president

  • Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura. December 15, 2017 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Sunday, April 15, 2018

GREENFIELD — The poetic lines that classically meander through Bob Pura’s speeches are approaching their final distillation, as his 17-plus years at the helm of the college are now down to his last couple of months.

Take, for example, his quick speech on “hope” at the Greenfield Community College Foundation breakfast on Friday, a kickoff to the college’s formal fundraising season:

“Imagine sitting around at a meeting somewhere in Greenfield thinking about the need for a college right here in our community for the families of those who would travel down from the hilltowns …

“Imagine a college for those who are clear about a future of nursing, teaching, firefighting or law enforcement …

“Imagine a college right here in our community with the academic rigor of a private elite college, but built on the same egalitarian values on which our nation is built …

“Imagine a college where the education one gets is form fitted around each student, like they were buying a suit from a tailor and not just one off the rack …

“Imagine a college where students experience, maybe for the first time in their lives, strong and guiding relationship, an inclusive and respectful community and the authentic feeling of belonging …”

He paused and looked around to the group of alumni, donors and community partners seated at the event, pausing during their breakfast of muffins and coffee. They likely know where he’s going with this, but not how it will be delivered.

“We probably would come to a point in that meeting, throw up our hands and say, ‘Really? Come on folks, let’s be realistic and a bit more pragmatic. That’s just impossible to imagine; it’s hopeless.’”

This is the time in which Pura takes what may typically be a cliché, and crafts it to make it his own — a signature of his.

“Hope is a street in Greenfield that connects Cheapside Street with the center of commerce and opportunity,” Pura said. “And for all of us in this room this morning, hope is a college we call GCC that is perched ever so nobly in the soul of our community.”

It’s moments like these, Regina Curtis, executive director of resource development and leader of the GCC Foundation, said she will miss and will be tough to replace when Pura leaves.

Soon enough, the public will have a chance to weigh in on the half a dozen or so candidates for the new Greenfield Community College president. This will likely come later this month and in early May, Curtis said.

Until then, it will be a season of graduations and a series of lasts for Pura — including a series of final waxings on his time at One College Drive.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:


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