Ubiñas to Address Students at Northern Essex Graduation

Philadelphia Daily News columnist Helen Ubiñas, a Northern Essex Community College (NECC) alumna, will be the featured speaker at Northern Essex’s 53rd Commencement Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m.

Ubiñas is a former editor of the Observer, NECC’s student newspaper. She attended Northern Essex in 1990 and 1991 while living in Methuen and transferred to Boston University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She went on to earn a master’s from Trinity College in Connecticut.

Ubiñas was a longtime reporter and columnist for the Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s longest continuously published newspaper, where she was awarded a number of honors, including a team Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 1999. In 2000, she became the Courant’s first Latina news columnist. In 2007, she was one of 12 U.S. journalists awarded the prestigious John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University. She’s also received several awards since becoming a columnist in Philadelphia, including the top honor in column-writing at the 2014 Keystone Press Awards.

In June, Ubiñas wrote a column for the Daily News, in which she shared her own educational journey. She is the first in her immediate family to graduate from college.

After reading this column, NECC President Lane Glenn was inspired to invite Ubiñas to address the graduates. “Close to half of our students are first generation college students,” said Glenn. “With her successful career and her passion for higher education, Helen is a role model for our students.”

The commencement will be under a tent on the quadrangle on the college’s Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott Street, Haverhill MA, 01830. Approximately 1,100 graduates are expected to receive certificates and associate degrees.