Klamath Community College is pleased to announce that a record number of graduates will be taking part in its 15th annual commencement ceremony. With more than 140 students scheduled to participate, the college should see a more-than 50 percent increase in the number of students walking in commencement compared to last year. The ceremony, which will take place at 6:00 p.m. Friday, June 15, will be held in the KCC Courtyard—the grassy area between Buildings 5 and 6 on campus.
KCC’s commencement ceremony has historically been held indoors, but was moved outside last year due to the high number of graduates and guests that attended the event. This year, that number is expected to increase again. According to Julie Murray-Jensen, Vice President for Student Services, the college has made a point of emphasis regarding making sure students see their education through to completion, and it is paying dividends. “Not only do we have a huge increase in the number of students participating in the commencement ceremony this year,” she said, “but we will also be awarding almost twice as many degrees and certificates this year as last year.” During the 2010-2011 academic year, KCC awarded 130 degrees and certificates. This year, students have requested a total of 259 degrees and certificates. “We are extremely proud of our students and are thrilled to be celebrating this momentous occasion with them,” Murray-Jensen said.
Many of this year’s graduates are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university in the fall, continuing a strong tradition of KCC students transferring to earn bachelor’s degrees. “We are very proud of the fact that, among Oregon’s 17 community colleges, we have the highest percentage of students who transfer to four-year institutions,” stated KCC President Gerald Hamilton. “It’s always a pleasure to see another group of graduates move on. Whether this marks the culmination of their academic pursuits or they will be furthering their education elsewhere, we are very proud of all our graduates,” he continued. Others will be seeking work in their field of study while a handful of graduates have already found work in their field despite still having courses to complete.
The featured speaker at this year’s ceremony will be Walt Commans, Western States Consultant with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). KCC’s Automotive Technology program has earned national recognition for the results that its student technicians have achieved on ASE certification testing. As the inaugural cohort of Automotive Technology students graduate—each with an associate’s degree and multiple ASE certifications—Mr. Commans will be on hand to honor them, and all KCC graduates. Also, for the first time in school history, the commencement ceremony will feature a student speaker. Catherine Hall was selected from a pool of applicants and will have the honor of being the first KCC student to address her graduating class during commencement.
Friends and family of the graduates—as well as the general public—are invited to attend the event and a reception to follow. The reception, which will be held in the Activity Room inside Building 6, will feature beverages and cupcakes to celebrate the graduates’ accomplishments. “We are expecting anywhere from 750 to 1,000 people at the ceremony,” Murray-Jensen said. “It’s great to have so many people celebrating and honoring these graduates and their accomplishments.”