This year marks the largest cohort of graduating students in the college’s history. 1,778 graduates earned more than 2,000 degrees, certificates, and diplomas this academic year. The graduation ceremony was held on the campus’ soccer field on June 20.
Vice President of Instruction Michelle Andreas, Ed.D., was the Master of Ceremonies for the graduation. Along with Andreas speaking, recently retired paralegal professor George Darkenwald gave the faculty address and graduate Carla Smith gave the student graduation speech during the ceremony.
Graduate David Rowland said he really appreciated Darkenwald’s message of “Life is short and many people don’t look at life as a short opportunity to find things to laugh about.” Darkenwald briefly mentioned funerals and the deaths of some of the college’s professors. Rowland said, “He talked about funerals, a subject that many people avoid, but it should be talked about at milestones in people’s lives.” Having taught 20 years, Darkenwald will retire from teaching the paralegal program at the college.
Carla Smith, the student speaker, is a single mother of three children who had returned to college to earn a degree. She graduated with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Office Administration/Medical Administrative Assistant.
Each year the staff and faculty at the college are able to nominate one graduating student who they believe demonstrated personal growth, contributed to the campus, and maintained strong academic achievement during their time here. This year, graduate Lorraine Guzman was selected for the award. Guzman was the 2013-14 Associated Student Body president and was involved with the Diversity and Equity Center and the Pacific Islander Club.
Graduate Yva Nyhammer said, “The graduation ceremony was great. It was well organized…” Each student was given a card with their names with the degree(s), certificate(s), and diploma(s) earned listed. The student could then add other things on the cards that the two speakers would read over the microphone while walking across the stage. Students with leadership roles and affiliations added their titles and involvements to their card to be read while some added personalized messages to people in the audience. “…[This] is how we are able to show off how active we were during our time here and are able to thank the people that helped us in our lives,” said Nyhammer.
“Being able to say that I graduated from a school that helped shape my character outside of its classrooms is an honor. And graduation was a wonderful way to celebrate that milestone in my life,” said graduate Cleo Pineda.