Central Arizona College recognized the accomplishments of its graduates during a district commencement ceremony on Friday, May 15, at CAC’s Signal Peak Campus, 85228, 8470 N Overfield Rd. in Coolidge.
After a welcome and introductions conducted by Dr. James Moore, CAC’s vice president of college affairs, the graduates were addressed by CAC alumnus, Alice Wilcox, president and CEO of Pinal County Federal Credit Union.
Ms. Wilcox challenged students to accept positions that will challenge them and allow them to use the skills they acquired at CAC. Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, she encouraged students to keep their eye on the ultimate goal. “With every experience you gain strength, you gain courage, you gain confidence,” she said.
Following Ms Wilcox’s speech, the student speakers nominated and selected by the college community addressed their peers.
Romualdo Villega attended classes at the Signal Peak Campus. He represented CAC in Washington D. C. for the Student Public Policy Forum where he was a role model to his peers, according to a press release.
Mr. Villega invited those in the audience who have not yet received a degree to enroll in classes and expand their horizons, explaining the importance of taking the opportunity to improve not only oneself but the entire community. He said, “In order to be competitive we must continue educating ourselves every single day, not only to get a better job but also to contribute to our society.”
Edward Aguirre from the Aravaipa Campus began his higher education experience during his sophomore year in high school. He participated in various campus events, was treasurer for Aravaipa’s Student Leadership Organization and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He participated in the Student Public Policy Forum in Washington D.C. earlier this spring.
Mr. Aguirre compared graduating from CAC to the Color Run, the first 5K run he participated in. He said “It does not matter who you are or where you come from or what your limitations may be. There is enough support to get you to the end.” He added, “Similarly the mission of Central Arizona College is to involve our community in education, to create lifelong learners who will share their colors with the world.”
Nathaniel Bush, a student at the Superstition Mountain Campus, began college in his early 30s after experiencing some adversity during his youth, he said. During his time at CAC, Mr. Bush excelled academically. He received numerous awards and was named an Academic All-American Student and Coca Cola Scholar.
Mr. Bush provided well wishes to his fellow graduates. “I hope all of you go on and discover your gift, if you haven’t already, and share what you have to offer with this world.”
Faculty senate president Vickie Young-Chiverton, presented the candidates to the CAC Governing Board, which conferred the degrees and certificates. The graduating students were congratulated as they crossed the stage by the five members of the CAC Governing Board as well as CAC President Dr. Doris Helmich.
Preliminary statistics show 847 graduates for the academic year, receiving 1,154 degrees and certificates. Of the graduating class, 375 are male and 468 are female. The youngest CAC graduate is 17 and the oldest is 86.
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