VT Employer-Partner GW Plastics and Former Interim President Headline Vermont Tech Commencement Ceremonies

GW Plastics President and CEO, Brenan Riehl was the keynote speaker at the college's 153rd annual commencement for the applied science and engineering technology program ceremonies on Saturday, May 18th in Randolph Center. Mr. Riehl leads the multi-national company, which is one of North America's top precision thermoplastic and silicone contract manufacturers. As an employer-partner to Vermont Tech, GW Plastics offers credit-bearing training for their incumbent workers, provides scholarship and internships to Vermont Tech students, and hires many graduates. Currently, approximately 20 employees are graduates of the college.

Since joining GW Plastics in 1988, Mr. Riehl has held a number of positions, including Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Senior Vice President, and President and Chief Operating Officer. Riehl also worked for General Electric and Owens-Illinois, both in their plastics divisions. Riehl is excited to send off the graduates, some of whom will soon be his employees. "If I could hire every one of you, I would," enthused Riehl. "Because you are about to graduate from one of the finest technical colleges in the country."

The college broke with tradition by inviting a non-student speaker to lead the nursing and allied health ceremony on Sunday, May 19th, also in Randolph Center. Vermont Tech's first female president, Pat Menchini spoke to graduates of the health professions ceremony. Ms. Menchini joined Vermont Tech in 1993 and continued her employment at the college until her retirement in 2012. During her time at Vermont Tech, Menchini served as Nursing Program Director, Associate Dean of Allied Health, Dean of Academic Affairs, and Interim President. Menchini is looking forward to returning to the college to see the latest graduates from the nursing and allied health programs. "You are all well prepared. The graduates of these programs pass the licensure exams at a high rate," said Menchini. "These are amazing statistics and something that all four programs should be very proud of! That doesn't mean that you should not study, but go into your exams with confidence."

Pat Menchini began her nursing career at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New York, NY. She worked in a variety of positions, including Assistant Head Nurse, Head Nurse, and Nursing Supervisor. Menchini moved to a position at Southampton Hospital on Long Island before moving to Bennington, VT in 1988 to join the faculty of the Putnam Memorial School of Practical Nursing. Like many Vermont Tech graduates, Menchini earned her advanced degree while working full-time.

"With degrees and certificates that are relevant to today's and the future's economy, Vermont Tech prepares students for a variety of interesting, technology-based careers," noted President Patricia Moulton. "We are delighted to have had Brenan and Pat send off our graduates, sharing wisdom from industries where our students are now headed."

Vermont Tech graduated students with 2 master's degrees, 127 bachelor's degrees, 301 associate degrees and 9 certificates. At three different ceremonies through the weekend, the college honored 483 graduates who hail from 15 countries and 11 states. The graduation for hte applied science and engineering technology programs were held over two ceremonies on Saturday, May 18. Students in health care programs, including Nursing, Paramedicine, Respiratory Therapy, and Dental Hygiene graduated on Sunday, May 19. Vermont Tech's Early College program, The Vermont Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) awarded 73 diplomas at their graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 19. A full schedule of events can be found online at www.vtc.edu/commencement.