May is the best month of the year at Pima Community College, because that is when we celebrate the achievements of our students. And yes, it takes most of a month to recognize all of their amazing accomplishments.
I have been fortunate to participate in several of the ceremonies. On May 5, I attended a celebration of the accomplishments of students in our Honors Program. The students balance meeting the program’s rigorous academic requirements with work and family life. As part of the event, students displayed and explained the results of their semester-long research projects.
On May 6, I spoke at Multicultural Convocation, our annual celebration of diversity and inclusion. The stories of grit and determination were inspiring shared by the students were inspiring. I asked the students to consider the words of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, to remind them about family and heritage: “It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.”
On May 12, we celebrated the achievements of our students in Adult Basic Education for College & Career (ABECC) at a High School Equivalency Diploma graduation. The celebration had to be moved to a bigger venue because of the large number of graduates, a sure sign that ABECC is doing it right in fostering student success.
The month also included a candlelight pinning ceremony for Registered Nurses in our Nursing Program. Tonight and next week we will honor the graduates of our Paramedic, Law Enforcement and Fire Academy programs.
Last night, of course, was the main event, Graduation 2016. More than 750 graduates, accompanied by their friends and loved ones, received diplomas and certificates. It was an amazing night, thanks to the hard work of our faculty and staff.
I closed my graduation remarks with a quote, variously attributed to Jesse Jackson and Muhammad Ali: “If your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it.” PCC students are achieving great things, and we are proud of their accomplishments.
[Commencement produced countless memorable images. You can find a few in this short video.]