San Diego & Imperial County community college students earning more than 30,000 degrees and certificates

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Students at the six community college districts that make up the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) are earning more than 30,000 degrees and certificates this spring and will be celebrated during drive-thru and virtual commencements beginning Friday, May 21.

“To reach this milestone during a historic pandemic that upended so many lives and forced campuses to close is truly a tremendous accomplishment,” said Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and SDICCCA chair. “Community college students, most of whom come from underrepresented populations and many of whom are the first in their family to seek a postsecondary degree or certificate, should be applauded for their persistence amid such adversity.”

Among the celebrations:

Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

The Grossmont College virtual commencement is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 9. At 9 a.m. the day before, graduates will take part in a drive-thru event at the El Cajon campus. Nearly 1,500 Grossmont College students are earning 2,308 associate degrees this year and nearly 1,200 are earning an additional 1,379 certificates of achievement. Sixty-three graduates are international students.

Cuyamaca College is holding a Graduate Parade beginning at 9 a.m. on June 9 at the Rancho San Diego campus and a virtual commencement the following day at 5:30 p.m. A total of 632 students ranging in age from 19 to 75 are graduating from Cuyamaca College, 17 of whom are leaving with a GPA of 4.0. Some 970 degrees and 197 certificates are being awarded in all, with the most popular degree being an associate degree for transfer in business administration.

Imperial Valley College

Students at Imperial Valley College, who are earning more than 2,100 degrees and more than 1,000 certificates, will take part in a Commencement Ceremony Car Parade on June 12 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Graduating students will be allowed to leave their vehicle to cross the stage and receive their diploma before returning to their car. A virtual commencement will be held later that day at 4 p.m.

Imperial Valley College students are earning 2,142 associate degrees and 1,022 certificates. Numerous students are earning multiple degrees and certificates, led by one student who is earning nine degrees.

MiraCosta College

MiraCosta College is holding an in-person, drive-thru graduation dubbed Drive of Champions at the Oceanside Campus on May 28 at 5 p.m., along with a virtual alternative at the same time. A total of 1,866 students ranging in age from 17 to 73 will be earning degrees, including 29 who are earning a bachelor’s degree in biomanufacturing.

Some 3,819 degrees and certificates are being awarded in all.

Honored as the Class Poet is Honors student extraordinaire Helen LeiNani Highland-Coslow, who had worked 27 jobs in her 46 years before she opted to enroll at MiraCosta and is now on her way toward earning a Ph.D. in English. The Student Speaker is Emanuel Prince, who graduates on the President’s list with a 4.0 grade point average, is the first-ever Associated Student Government Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and is active in the Black Student Union, Umoja, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Palomar College

Graduates of Palomar College in 2021 are on track to celebrate with a drive-thru commencement ceremony that will take eligible candidates on a lap of the San Marcos campus before receiving their diplomas. The event is scheduled for Friday, May 28, at 5 p.m., and will be live streamed in addition to a special pre-recorded program featuring the customary schedule of speakers and awards.

Palomar College is awarding approximately 3,850 degrees and certificates, and more than 300 students are expected to participate in the drive-thru ceremony. Interim Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn and members of the Governing Board will be greeting each car and placing their diploma cover and alumni association gift bags in the trunks of the vehicle.

The parade route will begin at the Comet Circle entrance off West Mission Road, just east of the main entrance to the college. Palomar College’s radio station, KKSM will host a special pre-event program featuring pre- recorded messages, live call-ins, music and commencement information. Listeners can tune to AM 1320 or find KKSM on their favorite radio app to listen along.

San Diego Community College District

Students at San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and the San Diego College of Continuing Education are earning more than 12,500 degrees and certificates this year and will be celebrating their accomplishments with drive-thru commencements and virtual graduation ceremonies beginning May 21.

City College and Miramar College kick off the Class of 2021 drive-thru celebrations beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 21. The San Diego College of Continuing Education is holding its ceremony at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 28, and Mesa College will hold its commencement on Friday, June 4, at 11 a.m.

Preliminary figures show the SDCCD this year is awarding 8,400 certificates, 4,097 associate degrees, 102 high school diplomas, and 25 bachelor’s degrees, the latter through Mesa College’s Health Information Management Baccalaureate Program.

The 2021 graduations mark the final commencement for San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, who retires July 1. During her record 17 years as Chancellor of the SDCCD, Dr. Carroll awarded more than 150,000 degrees and certificates.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College is holding a live-streamed, drive-thru commencement on Friday, May 28, at 4 p.m. The event includes a pre-recorded program featuring a schedule of speakers and awards. The recorded program will be available online starting at 4 p.m. on commencement day.

Southwestern College this year is distributing 3,541 degrees and certificates to 2,855 graduates.

The drive-thru route will begin at the East H Street entrance (by DeVore Stadium) and cars will be staged in parking lots before traveling along the campus’ perimeter road. Students will be greeted by Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez and members of the Governing Board.

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