Turners Falls resident named recipient of GCC’s Distinguished Alumni Award


Staff Report
Published: 4/29/2021 9:14:40 PM

GREENFIELD — Turners Falls resident Phillip Ringwood, who graduated with two degrees from Greenfield Community College in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has earned the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award.

“Phil is an extraordinary leader and graduate who has accomplished so much since leaving GCC,” GCC President Yves Salomon-Fernández said in a press release. “We are just so proud to honor him as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.”

The annual award was established by the GCC Alumni Association to recognize and honor an alumnus or alumna of GCC who has achieved substantial public recognition for their accomplishments or success, according to the release. To be eligible for nomination, the nominee should demonstrably have:

■Earned at least 15 credit hours at GCC or earned a degree or certificate

■Earned the respect and trust of his/her associates in his/her chosen field

■Made substantial contributions to the good of his/her fellow human beings

■Volunteered for organizations that are important to him/her

After learning he would be receiving the award, Ringwood said, “GCC was a pivotal point in my young adulthood. It built skills and confidence, and taught me how to work with others.”

Ringwood has worked at DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services, a Greenfield-based nonprofit that has been serving Western Massachusetts since 1977, and has served as the organization’s executive director since 2012. According to the release, the organization provides a wide array of services that foster youth empowerment and community service. In the last four decades, more than 40,000 youths have been served by the agency in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties and the North Quabbin region.

In this role, Ringwood said he is especially proud of his experience advocating for the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Bill in the state Legislature, informed by his own experience as a 15-year-old homeless youth.

“Phil is a leader within the community, always stepping up to the next challenge. He is collaborative and has helped form a solid network of community service organizations within the region,” said Alexandria Green-Atchley, one of Ringwood’s DIAL/SELF colleagues who submitted a nomination for him.

Ringwood credits the GCC staff and faculty who met him where he was “to get me where I needed to go.” He earned two associate’s degrees at GCC — the first in business management in 1999, followed by a business administration transfer degree in 2003. He also noted that his experience being enrolled as a younger student at GCC taught him how to build relationships with all age groups. He was able to build connections with non-traditional students who were already working in the business world.

GCC Registrar Holly Fitzpatrick, who also nominated Ringwood for the award, added that “Phil is a great example of an alum who has taken what they learned at GCC and combined it with their lived experience to carve out, not only a successful career, but one that serves the local and greater communities.”

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Award and a full list of recipients, visit gcc.mass.edu/alumni/award.

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