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Howard Community College Breaks Own Record with Largest Graduating Class in School History

Columbia, MD – Howard Community College will graduate the largest class in its history at the annual commencement ceremony on May 24, 2016. More than 1,470 students are candidates for associate degrees and certificates this academic year, far exceeding last year’s record-breaking figure of nearly 1,200.

Increasing student completion has been a long-term strategic goal at the college, and after seven years of data collection, Howard Community College has found a 92 percent increase in graduating students – the largest percentage increase among all of Maryland’s 16 community colleges. Students who complete their requirements during the academic year are eligible to participate in commencement, and more than 500 students are expected to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony. This ticket-only event will be held at the Retriever Activities Center Arena, located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Graduating student Anthony Coyne will serve as the student speaker for the ceremony. Coyne left high school after his sophomore year, earned his GED, and worked full time in food service before realizing he would benefit from a college education. After enrolling at Howard Community College and attending college job fairs, he joined the US Air Force Reserve and found an internship with a local information technology company. He will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and an associate degree in network security, and then transfer to the University of Maryland University College to pursue his bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.

Dr. Philip J. Rous, UMBC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, will deliver the commencement address. In his role at UMBC, Rous is responsible for the delivery of the academic program, which includes instruction, research, academic support services, and enrollment management. He was appointed to his position in 2012 and joined the university in 1990. He holds the rank of professor in the department of physics. Rous has his doctorate in theoretical physics from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom, and conducted postdoctoral research at Imperial College, the University of California, Berkley, and the University of Cambridge.

At the ceremony, Howard Community College will also confer honorary degrees on Bernadene Hallinan-Smith and Ronald X. Roberson for their service to the college and the community. Hallinan-Smith started the nursing program at Howard Community College in 1971 and was instrumental in the development of additional programs at the college, including biomedical engineering. She served as director of the nursing program until her retirement in 1981. She followed her career at the college by working with the national accreditation body for nursing and developing a structure that aligned all the associate degree programs within Maryland, which continues today.

Roberson served Howard Community College for 21 years, first as a professor of art, then chair of the division of humanities, and finally as the vice president of academic affairs. During his time at the college, he served as an art history lecturer and drawing/painting instructor during study tours to Italy. In service to the community, he served as vice president of the Howard County Arts Council and chair of the Maryland State Arts Council. After his retirement, Roberson relocated to the Netherlands, where he continues to work as a painter, and he supports students through the Ronald X. Roberson Scholarship at the college.

Prior to the commencement ceremony, the college will hold its nursing recognition and pinning ceremony to honor graduating nursing students.
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