Tag Archives: Paramedics

Graduation season 2017

On May 18, Pima Community College recognized the achievements of 3,550 students at Graduation. The ceremony is the high point of a season of celebration that began in late April, when Aviation Technology program completers were honored, and continued to June 1, when PCC Adult Education for College & Career recognized completers of the GED exam at High School Equivalency graduation.

In between were ceremonies for, among others, the Fire Science Academy, our one-of-a-kind Air Force paramedic program, recognition of Honors and veterans students, and candlelight ceremonies for newly minted nurses and dental hygiene education grads.

Quite simply, it’s the best time of the year.

Educators are fond of data, and the numbers behind Graduation 2017 describe substantial success: 5,796 degrees and certificates awarded (many PCC students earn more than one credential); 878 Associate of Liberal Arts degrees; 150 graduates with grade point averages of 3.90 or greater; more than 800 GED completers; 63 Nursing graduates; and so on.

But to truly understand the significance of the events, count the hugs, family photos, tears of joy, and individual stories of resilience and grit. Each graduate has an amazing tale to tell, and each leaves a legacy that will resonate with family and friends for generations to come.

These moments validate the hard work and creativity of our faculty, staff and administrators, and inspire us, especially at the end of an exhausting, exhilarating academic year. Our graduates, who entrusted us with their futures and with their families’ futures, energize our efforts to ensure we always have a College worthy of their dreams.

Watch a video of Graduation highlights.

Training that saves lives


I recently had the privilege of attending the graduation of 21 new paramedics from the U.S. Air Force. The diverse group is the third cohort to have completed four months of six-day-a-week training at our Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute.

Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally

Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard

So far, PCC has trained 71 airmen and airwomen to become paramedics under the five-year training contract the College received from the U.S. Air Force last year. I related to the new graduates that the Air Force recently recognized one of the graduates of the first cohort for saving a life of a comrade-in-arms.

The impressive list of speakers included U.S. Rep. Martha McSally;  keynote speaker Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D., Mobilization Assistant to the Director of the Defense Health Headquarters; and PSESI Medical Director Dr. Andrea Herbert.  Among their key messages: never stop learning. Completion of coursework at PCC gives the paramedics the foundation for future stackable credentials earned during their professional career.

Like many fields of study offered at PCC, paramedicine is changing rapidly and requires constant training to stay atop the profession.

Rep. McSally called the connection between PCC and the Air Force a “cutting-edge partnership,” which is especially apt given our special relationship with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Congratulations are in order for our Shane Clark, Sharon Hollingsworth and the team at PSESI for organizing an excellent ceremony. I look forward to attending graduations of future classes of these great young airwomen and airmen for years to come.