Howard Community College to Graduate Largest Class Ever at Commencement
Columbia, MD – Howard Community College will graduate the largest class of students in its history at the 47th annual commencement ceremony on May 22, 2018. An anticipated 1,365 students are candidates for graduation, and more than 500 will participate in the 2 p.m. ticket-only ceremony at the Retriever Activities Center Arena, located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Howard Community College has seen the number of students receiving associate degrees and certificates steadily increase year over year. This sustained growth is attributed to the college’s strategic focus on student success and completion. A number of initiatives developed in recent years have provided students with additional support inside and outside the classroom. Student Anya Welsh, who will deliver the graduate address at commencement, sought out every opportunity for support, such as Career Links, a program that supports single parents and displaced homemakers.
“Struggling day in and day out inspired me to start over and pursue an education at Howard Community College,” said Anya Welsh, who will deliver the graduate address at commencement. “I wanted to change my daughter’s life and mine for the better, and Howard Community College helped me discover my inner self: my leadership skills, my confidence, and even my independence.”
Born and raised in the Ukraine, Welsh worked as a pharmacist in her native country before moving with her family to the United States at age 20. Multilingual, Welsh speaks Ukrainian, Russian, and English. While at Howard Community College, Welsh has balanced family, employment, and college. The Career Links and Student Support Services programs provided her with assistance in completing her degree, and in turn, Welsh has given back by serving as a peer mentor to other students. She will earn her associate of applied science with the goal of working as a diagnostic medical sonographer. She wants her success to serve as inspiration to her 13-year-old daughter.
Another student-focused highlight during the ceremony is the presentation of $1,000 Awards for Academic Excellence to Ye Hie Joy Cho and Amy Green, who will graduate with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. The Howard Community College Educational Foundation provides these awards to assist with their further education. Cho, who studied electrical engineering and recently published her undergraduate research in the college’s first student research journal, hopes to attend the University of Maryland College Park. Green, a pre-pharmacy student, will transfer directly graduate school at Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy to pursue her doctor of pharmacy.
Mary Ann Scully, chief executive officer of Howard Bank, will deliver the commencement address to graduates. With more than 30 years of experience in banking, Scully has a passion for improving communities by helping small and medium-sized businesses thrive. She spearheaded the planning and establishment of Howard Bank in 2003. Her commitment to the community extends beyond banking. She currently serves on the board of several nonprofit organizations. In June 2018, Baltimore Museum of Industry will honor her as its Industrialist of the Year.
At the ceremony, Howard Community College will also confer honorary degrees on Dr. Mary Ellen Duncan, Greg Kahlert, and Elizabeth Rendón-Sherman for their service to the college and the community.
Dr. Duncan, president emeritus of Howard Community College, has had an impressive 35-year career in higher education, including 17 years in presidencies at community colleges. She served as the third president of Howard Community College from 1998–2007. During her tenure, she oversaw a $14 million campaign, the expansion of campus buildings and facilities, and a doubling in the student body. She currently is a leadership coach with Achieving the Dream. Among her many honors is a Doctor of Honors from Excelsior College as recognition of her commitment to community colleges.
Kahlert is a strong supporter of the college and president of the Kahlert Foundation. Under his leadership, the foundation has been a generous donor of the college, supporting such programs as the Pathway Scholarship Fund and the STEM Scholars honors program. The Kahlert Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Endowment provides support for students with financial need. In recognition for his philanthropic work, the Association of Fundraising Professionals named the Kahlert Foundation as its 2017 Outstanding Foundation of the Year for Maryland.
Rendón-Sherman is the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of LG-TEK, a company she founded that provides software services and foreign language support and instruction. She recently served as chair of the college’s 2017–2018 Commission on the Future, an integral part of the college’s environmental scanning and strategic planning initiative. Her service to the college includes serving on the HCC Educational Foundation board of directors and LG-TEK supports the college as a donor.Prior to the commencement ceremony, the college will hold a pinning ceremony to honor graduating nursing students, as well as the induction of students into the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society.