By Isiah REYES
Friends and family gathered at Glendale Community College on Wednesday, June 11 to celebrate the commencement of the class of 2014.
The class included 766 students receiving 309 Associate of Arts degrees, 269 Associate of Science degrees, and 334 certificates of completion. The youngest graduate was 18 years old and the most senior graduate was 83 years old.
“We do believe in life-long learning at Glendale Community College,” Superintendent/President Dr. David Viar said. “You can never stop learning.”
“The Star Spangled Banner” was sung by Danielle Miyazaki, followed by a performance of “You Raise Me Up” by the Glendale College Chamber singers.
The student commencement speaker was Sindura Subanemy Kandasamy, who is originally from Sri Lanka. She served as the vice president of Administration for the associated students of Glendale Community College.
“As a 20-year-old, I came to America alone,” Kandasamy said. “The transition was frightening. I had no connections. Subsequently, I said yes to opportunity and joined the associated students of Glendale Community College.”
There, she said, she felt the nurture of friends and teachers that made the college a home away from home. Her main message to the graduates was to make as many connections as possible in addition to excelling in academics.
During the ceremony, three awards were presented to faculty. The first was the Distinguished Faculty Award, given to Christine Kloezeman from business. The William L. Parker Exceptional Service Award recipient was Mike Allen of math and the Exceptional Adjunct Faculty Award was awarded to Steve Parker from sociology.
The college provided a moment of silence in memory of colleagues who have passed away in the 2013-14 academic year. Those colleagues were Dr. John Davitt, superintendent/president of GCC from 1968 to 2006; Marianne Nikodem, adjunct instructor of business from 2006 to 2014; Paul Tomasek, adjunct instructor of microbiology from 2006 to 2012; and Ronald Wright, adjunct instructor of life skills noncredit business from 2004 to 2014.
After the graduates walked the stage, president of Academic Senate Davit Avagyan had them recite the graduation pledge of social and environment responsibility. Initiated at Glendale Community College by the Center for Student Involvement and adopted through the shared governance process in fall 2009, the pledge is intended to provide graduates with a lifelong reminder of their commitment to practicing and promoting social and environmental consciousness.
The pledge reads: “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequence of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work.”
The closing of the ceremony featured the Glendale College Chamber singers performing the alma mater.
“I am especially proud to congratulate all the students who walked this stage today,” Avagyan said. “They have worked tirelessly, and truly deserve to be honored for their academic achievement. I hope that this will be one in many more to come.”
A reception was held in Plaza Vaquero for graduates and their families following the commencement.