Distinguished Leaders event raises $200,000 for Great Bay Community CollegeBy GRETYL MACALASTER
Union Leader Correspondent
October 06. 2013 4:16PM
NEW CASTLE — Great Bay Community College honored three local visionaries on Thursday night during the annual Distinguished Leaders event at Wentworth by the Sea Hotel.
The event raised more than $200,000, which will be used to provide student scholarships at Great Bay.
Scholarships were also designated in honor of each honoree — Jackie Eastwood, former CEO and co-founder of Salient Surgical Technologies and founder of The Global Child, a program to educate street children in Cambodia; Erik Dodier and Thomas Obrey, founders of PixelMEDIA; and Craig Brady, a Marine wounded in Afghanistan, a member of the USA Warriors Sled Hockey Program and a student at Great Bay.
Funds raised through the 2012 event provided need-based scholarships of up to $1,000 for 60 new full-time students at the community college.
Paul Holloway, chairman of the Community College System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees, said the system is 95 percent populated by New Hampshire residents of all walks of life, including veterans, people looking for a career change, students fresh out of high school and people with advanced degrees looking for specific job training.
Holloway said these graduates are likely to stay in New Hampshire and become the leaders of the future.
Eastwood said for her, becoming a leader happened organically.
“I guess it’s a part of life that you end up having responsibility. And you just do what you have to do and learn what you have to learn and then try to understand how things work,” Eastwood said, adding that she learned the most when people trusted her and gave her “lots of rope.” She also placed high importance on recognizing talent and offering guidance.
That is what Dodier and Obrey have been doing at PixelMEDIA since founding the company in 1994.
Business NH Magazine recently named PixelMEDIA “The Best Small Company to Work for in NH” because of their involvement with educators, businesses, veterans and the arts.
Being part of a team has also helped Brady adjust to a life in which he is no longer an active-duty Marine. College is not something he had envisioned for himself in high school, but he plans to go on from Great Bay to the University of New Hampshire to major in therapeutic recreation.
In recognizing Brady during Thursday’s dinner, math professor Peter Hopkinson said the fact that Brady wants to go on to help others is what stood out most to him.
Brady said he is no different than the many other veterans in class with him, except that his disability is more visible.
He joined alumna Laurie Murray and current student Natalie Landry in crediting Great Bay with helping to re-direct the course of their lives.