HCC’s Largest Graduating Class Celebrates at 47th Annual Commencement
It was a record breaking year for Howard Community College (HCC) with a total of 1,365 student candidates for graduation.
Students, their friends and families, college faculty and staff, and elected officials gathered at UMBC’s Retriever Activities Center on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, for the college’s 47th commencement ceremony – the largest in college history. Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of HCC, congratulated all who helped accomplish this achievement.
“HCC has been working hard to encourage every student to complete their education, and the numbers of students receiving associate degrees and certificates has been steadily increasing year after year,” she said. “As you leave today with your new degree or certificate in hand, you are ready to become the workforce of the future.”
The ceremony featured several speakers and special guests, including Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty, and Mamie Perkins, chair of the HCC Board of Trustees.
Perkins said she was confident the Class of 2018 will build a better tomorrow.
“When you started at HCC, we promised you can ‘get there from here.’ And you have. Take pride in your accomplishments. Continue to embrace the HCC mission of providing pathways to success, and remember to lead the way for others.”
Kittleman applauded the academic accomplishments of the graduating class, and reflected on the pride he had for his daughter when she graduated from HCC, and for his son, who currently attends the college. Sigaty followed by saying each student has a story to tell, and commended them for fighting hard to reach their goal.
Originally from the Ukraine, student speaker Anya Welsh has persevered through her own obstacles. Welsh was already a college graduate and pharmacist when she moved to the United States, but she strived for more, even if it meant attending classes in her third language while balancing school, work, and parenthood.
Today, Welsh holds an associate of applied science with the goal of becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer.
“We all come from different places, different cultures, different backgrounds and traditions,” she said. “As of today, we are all united as one, as a future of this country, each of us carrying a special purpose. I encourage all of you not be scared to make some mistakes along the way, and keep moving forward and learn from your missteps.
“Don’t ever stop dreaming and believing in yourself despite what obstacles you might face in the future. Each and every one of us is unique and carry a special purpose.”
Mary Ann Scully, chief executive officer of Howard Bank, served as this year’s commencement speaker and offered the following advice to the graduates.
“Your past accomplishments and experiences – your foundation – is the source of the sum of your capital right now. Treasure it,” she said. “Remember that only an open mind can be filled; a closed mind is static. Please do not strive for comfort.”
HCC recognized Dr. Mary Ellen Duncan, Greg Kahlert, and Elizabeth Rendón-Sherman with honorary degrees. Duncan is president emeritus of HCC (1998-2007), with an impressive 35-year career in higher education. Kahlert is a strong supporter of the college and president of the Kahlert Foundation. The foundation has been a generous donor of HCC, supporting the Pathway’s Scholarship Fund and STEM Scholars. Rendón-Sherman, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of LG-TEK, served as chair of HCC’s 2017-2018 Commission on the Future. She is a member of the HCC Educational Foundation (HCCEF) Board of Directors and LG-TEK is a donor to the college.
Also recognized were students Ye Hie Joy Cho and Amy Green, who each graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and received the Award for Academic Excellence, a $1,000 award provided by the HCCEF.
After turning their tassels, students smiled, danced, and cheered along with applause from their friends and family as they took to the stage to receive their diplomas. As the newest HCC alumni, they will continue their own pathways to success.