Commencement 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ceremony Details


Center for Advanced Technologies

Projected completion in late summer

The new $9.9 million building at the Epstein Campus at Lower Bucks in Bristol Township will house advanced manufacturing training and workforce programs to fill a growing need for skilled workers in Bucks County.

Kids on Campus

Kids on Campus is back for children and teens. Browse our offerings by age group - including our new Teens on Campus programs!

Register by April 8th to receive an early registration discount.

hybrid panel hosted in gallagher room. In person panelists holding archive book and zoom panelists in background

One of the Largest Pre-Stonewall Protests Happened Here in 1968

 When nearly 200 Bucks County Community College students walked out of classes on May 9, 1968 to protest the administration’s 11th-hour cancellation of a gay rights speaker they’d hired, they didn’t know they were making history. For more than 50 years, the event was nearly forgotten. That is until recently, when a scholar of LGBTQ history found a few mentions in local newspapers about the protest, and contacted the college library to see if there was any coverage by the student newspaper. Deep in the stacks of the County Collegian archives at the college’s Newtown Campus, librarians found several weeks’ worth of articles chronicling the protest and the subsequent fallout. And that’s when historian Marc Stein documented the event as one of the largest gay rights protests prior to the Stonewall Inn uprising in 1969. Stein, a professor at San Francisco State University who has published several books and articles on LGBTQ history, presented his unique research at “Bucks Looks Back: Gay Rights History Made Here,” a forum held Monday, May 9, the 54th anniversary of the protest, at the Newtown Campus and on video conference. “This is an important episode in pre-Stonewall LGBT history, as well as an important episode in the history of higher education and student activism,” Stein noted, speaking on Zoom. “It shows us evidence of changing and conflicting attitudes about homosexuality in the 1960s, especially among young people.” Indeed, Ralph Sassi Jr., a Levittown native who was student government president in 1968, said he approved the request by the cultural affairs committee to hire Richard Leitch, a New York City gay rights activist who had made headlines for challenging the city’s ban on serving homosexuals in bars.   “I felt that my job was to represent all of the needs of the students, from whatever was needed to learn and to broaden the educational experience,” said Sassi, speaking on Zoom from his home in San Diego. “I didn’t think anything of having this speaker come.” But outraged community members thought otherwise, and, bowing to that pressure, founding college president Dr. Charles Rollins canceled Leitch’s lecture just three hours before it was to take place. That led to an hours-long rally in the Tyler Hall courtyard, where Sassi led a peaceful demonstration and discussion with Rollins and the students. The importance of that protest resonates today. “What’s particularly important to note about this event is the power of our students,” said Associate Provost Kelly Kelleway at the opening of the forum. “It was our student body who stood up and showed us this way forward. It was our student body who led us down the path to where we are today. “Today, this college exists to not only improve lives and opportunities for our students and community, but to expand minds in the truest sense of the word,” added Kelleway. “And 54 years ago today, our students perhaps lit a spark to help us get there.” Other panelists included Professor Martin Sutton, who has been teaching at the college since it opened in 1965; Professor Max Probst, who has advised the Open Door Club for LGBTQ+ students and allies; and Monica Kuna, the Director of Libraries who played a pivotal role in helping Stein discover the event’s historical significance. Stein’s research is published as an online digital exhibit in “’Where Perversion is Taught:’ The Untold History of a Gay Rights Demonstration at Bucks County Community College in 1968” on The event will also be included in “Out on Campus: A History of LGBTQ+ Activism at Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities,” a traveling and online digital exhibit by the Pennsylvania LGBT History Network coming in September. It will also be added to the digital exhibit at   The Bucks County Community College forum was presented by the college’s Office of Community and Government Relations and DEI Programs, and cosponsored by the Open Door Club. For more information, contact Jean Dolan at or 215-968-8094.

Centurions Baseball Team Heads to Small College World Series

 The Bucks County Community College Centurions baseball team has been chosen as the 7th seed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series. Bucks will play the 10th seed, Bryant & Stratton College-Albany, on Monday, May 16 when the tournament opens in DuBois, Pa. It’s the first time that Bucks has been invited to the tournament, and the first baseball team invited from the new Eastern States Athletic Conference (ESAC). "This is a fantastic opportunity for our baseball program, our student athletes and coaches, and Bucks County Community College," said Matt Cipriano, the college’s director of student life and athletic programs. "We can’t wait to cheer them on!" The Centurions received the invitation after they won their first ESAC conference championship by defeating Central Penn 14 - 5 on May 5 at Newtown, Pa. Josh McGee, a freshman out of Long Island, N.Y. (Connetquot High School), batted in five runs and Dalton Turner, a freshman from Langhorne (Neshaminy High School), knocked in four to power the team to victory. Both shared player-of-the-game honors for their offensive performances. The Centurions are led by head coach C.J. Brancato and assistant coach Andre Lihotz. The team finished the regular season with a record of 26-21-1. The USCAA Small College World Series takes place May 16 –19 in DuBois, Pa.   Games will be live streamed.  For more information, visit the USCAA Championships webpage.  Bucks County Community College sports are Division II, non-athletic scholarship and compete in the USCAA. Bucks offers six intercollegiate sports in the USCAA in addition to eight club sports. To learn more, visit  

C.B. West Junior Named Bucks County High School Poet of the Year

Lauren Burchell, who rose to the top of more than 100 entries, will read from his works Saturday, May 14th from 1-3pm in the Orangery on BCCC's Newtown Campus. Lauren Burchell, a junior at Central Bucks High School West, has been named the 2022 Bucks County High School Poet of the Year, officials at Bucks County Community College announced. Burchell rose to the top of more than 100 entries in the 35rd annual contest, part of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program administered by the college. For the first-place finish, Burchell wins $300 and will be honored with a poetry reading on Saturday, May 14, from 1-3 pm in the Orangery on BCCC's Newtown Campus. The event will feature winners, finalists, and judges. The three poems Burchell submitted for the contest were entitled “One Fish, Two Fish, Girl Fish, Boy Fish,” “Secondary Succession,” and “An Ode to Selene.” The judges were Nicole Steinberg (the current Bucks County Poet Laureate) and Jane Edna Mohler (last year's BCPL).  In addition to the winner, the judges also named Rhianna Searle, a junior at the George School, as first runner-up. Second runner-up was junior Mira Kaufman from Council Rock High School North. Third runner-up was Pearl Smith, also a junior, from Neshaminy High School.  The three runners-up will also read from their works during the celebration.  The annual Bucks County High School Poet of the Year contest is another way that Bucks County Community College contributes to the cultural heritage of the region. To learn more, visit For more information contact Dr. Ethel Rackin, a Professor of Language and Literature at Bucks and the director of the Wordsmiths Reading Series and Poet Laureate Program. Lauren Burchell’s winning poems:   One Fish, Two Fish, Girl Fish, Boy Fish   I. One Fish Sometimes I wish I’d cut off my hair by my own hand, stuck the soil-colored strands into a used plastic grocery bag (reducing, reusing, recycling) Threw it into a river, let the evidence float away on a current Maybe the bag will become some unfortunate fish’s last supper But dear God, at least I’d be alive   If all I have to do to survive is secondhandedly strangle a fish, then I’d gladly take on the title of killer I’ve already murdered my past self: she’s at the bottom of a murky lake now   (I haven’t been to a lake in years)   II. Two Fish My mother had three children, braided her iron spirit into our hair When we were just ripening, she’d take us everywhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house (apples never straying far from the tree)   One of our most frequented places was a paradise of a koi pond hidden inside a health center or hospital or… (I wasn’t particular about that sort of thing a decade ago)   But we each chose our favorite fish, tried to find them every time My mother’s pointing finger led our eyes to them My favorite was an inseparable pair; their markings burning softly through the dappled surface of the water   I rarely needed my mother’s murmurs to identify them, for their uniqueness was what I wished to copy, something to make me stand out from my sisters (I didn’t know then I would grow up to look nothing like them)   But lifespans become cramped within the confines of the indoors And as a shadow fell over the pond, I could not find my pair of fish I was inconsolable on the inside; the only crack in my façade was a tremble of my lips and a stone in my throat   Within a few seconds, my mother pointed out two beautiful fish, claiming that they were my favorites, child Did she craft her lie to ease the trouble on my face, or had she never paid enough attention to know the difference?   That was the first lie she told me that I did not believe The first lie that fell apart like a sandcastle built too close to the tide’s reaching fingers   III. Girl Fish There are plenty of fish in the sea but how many girl fish are there? How many girl fish are there that like other girl fish that might be boy fish?   I cast my line, wait for eternity, reel it in, feel my skin burn and peel under the yellow smudge of the sun Empty-handed, I change my bait, becoming desperate I cut off my fingers one by one, hoping they like my ring finger best Impale the digit with the hook, then cast my line again   Perhaps if I tempt them with the right part of my flesh they will bite But girl fish only steal my bait for themselves I offer these slices of skin just to be robbed Never learning, always hoping the outcome might change   Girl fish slip out of your hands before you can get a grip Swimming upstream as you are swept into the rushing tide Never yours to treasure, to admire Though they’ll take whatever skin you offer up   IV. Boy Fish I observe boys like they are rare fish and I am the most dedicated ichthyologist in the last aquarium left standing   I watch the way they arrange their legs when they sit at desks (only crossed if at the ankle, or wide open, or with an ankle on an opposing knee) And how they position their hands when they’re talking (shoved deep into pockets, or clasped at one wrist, or all over me) And how their clothes tumble down their torsos (flatly across their chest to their stomach)   And yet I’m the one encased in hollow glass Strangers staring at me like I’m going extinct The water is pooling around my knees, enticing me to sink like a stone I am the freak show, I am the exhibit and my captor is my body     Secondary Succession   (n.) when organisms return to living in an area that was destroyed by events like floods, wildfires, or breakups   If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, is it even on fire? Are its veiny leaves slowly curling into char? Are its twisting branches cracking off, adding fuel to the fire, the most vicious of cycles?   If you’re not around to call me beautiful, am I still a vessel of beauty? Or is it only someone else’s eyes that can create my allure? Because my toothpaste-spattered bathroom mirror plays tricks on me so often So was the only thing that made me handsome your lovely, lying lips? But now, you have left me without the heat of them   So maybe I’m on fire, maybe I’m not Maybe you’re a liar, maybe I am You witnessed when I fell in love with you; I heard it             when you fell out of love with me: the melody of a heartbeat slowly steadying; then flatlining             altogether as you rip the cuff off   I hope I didn’t cut off your blood flow, darling Look: my knuckles are red, too, I held on so tightly to your fire that the pain was all-consuming             until it was just burning me raw I tried to cup you in my palms like you were cool water             but my hands were imperfectly made, see, You slipped out of my grasp like an oil spill             while my heart was doused in acetone       An Ode to Selene   My sister and I, we watched the moon rise Marveling at how quickly it leapt above the horizon I said it was orange, she argued for yellow but the honey shade dripped on, oblivious to our squabbling   Our neighbors wandered by us, peeking curiously at two kids crouched in a ditch, eyes fixed on the heavens They couldn’t find the cloudy marble rolling around in the sky until our murmured directions guided their gaze   My father meandered down the street with an amber bottle swinging, pendulum-like in his loose grasp, his eyes unfocused and his embrace warm The moon above commanded silence, a quiet awe broken not even by the croak of frogs or hum of insects   For nature gives the moon the stage when she is full and golden, a handful of minutes in a pair of fortnights Until she breaks above the tree line, snapping us out of our trance, and all fall back into our lives