The Vaqueros Take the Commencement Stage for the First Time in Two Years

The graduating Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 celebrate their academic accomplishments despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic

Jacqueline Kamei, Editor-in-Chief

Glendale Community College’s campus was bustling with excitement on June 15 as GCC hosted its first in-person graduation since the pandemic in celebration of the accomplishments of students in the graduating classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Among those in attendance for this celebration were participating graduating students, their families and friends, faculty and staff, administrators, and the Board of Trustees. “The 2022 graduating class includes 1,269 individuals who have earned 1,784 degrees and certificates of completion. That’s a record number here at Glendale Community College,” outgoing president of the college Dr. David Viar said when addressing the audience. During the event, graduates walked across the commencement stage waving their temporary diplomas in the air proudly. 

(Photo by: Jacqueline Kamei)

In addition to being such a memorable graduation with three graduating classes walking across the stage during a single event, this commencement ceremony marked Dr. David Viar’s final graduation ceremony as the president of the college. Dr. Viar was awarded the Honorary Glendale Community College Degree for his dedication to the college and his achievements throughout his nine years of service. 

“Glendale Community College is committed to excellence and to fostering the best in teaching and learning,” Dr. Viar said. “We aspire, through our vision, to be the Greater Los Angeles region’s premier learning community where all students achieve their informed educational goals through our outstanding instructional and student services, a comprehensive community college curriculum, and educational opportunities found in few community colleges. That’s what you’ve been a part of.”

(Photo by: Jacqueline Kamei)

During the graduation, numerous speeches were given to honor students’ accomplishments and provide inspiration for future aspirations and academic endeavors. One such speaker was president of the Academic Senate, Roger Dickes, who gave the graduating classes one last ongoing assignment. He called on them, “to continue to avidly learn, to fall in love with things that interest you, and to apply what you learn in your daily life.”

President of the Associated Students of Glendale Community College Diana Morales addressed the graduating class one more time and noted the resilience of all of the students, faculty, administrators, staff, and families in helping students achieve their educational goals during such a challenging time. “[GCC] helps us connect to amazing people and provides us opportunities that we never imagined possible,” Morales said to her peers.

(Photo by: Jacqueline Kamei)

Dr. Viar recognized the faculty members whose devotion and commitment helped students achieve their goals. “Those who have helped you get to this place tonight include dedicated faculty members, caring and giving people who have shared their wisdom and expertise with you, encouraged and guided you, who are pleased to see you ready to take your next step on your educational career path,” he said. “They represent our excellence.” During his speech, Dr. Viar recognized the Leonard DeGrassi Distinguished Faculty Award recipient, culinary arts professor Andrew Feldman. He also recognized the Dr. William L. Parker Exceptional Service Award recipient, English professor Sarah McLemore, and the Exceptional Adjunct Faculty Award recipient, English professor Tanya Baronian. 

Dr. Armine Hacopian, Board of Trustees President, applauded the graduates for their perseverance during such a trying time and expressed her belief in their bright futures. “Wherever you go, you will take part of GCC with you. Memories of a favorite professor or a coach, a great counselor or a very helpful staff member, and perhaps memories of those very special moments when you first discovered a new approach or learned something very valuable which has already impacted your life for the better,” Dr. Hacopian said. 

The Student Commencement Address was given by 2021-2022 GCC Student of Distinction and parenting student Knarik Gevorgyan, who provided encouragement and inspiration for the graduating classes. Gevorgyan described how she found the motivation to keep fighting for her education during the pandemic, and she also recognized the importance of appreciating those who have supported the graduating classes in achieving their academic goals. “Remember this day and all that you have accomplished when so much was unknown, and you can get through anything. Remember to say yes to opportunities and experiences because this will continue to facilitate our growth,” said Gevorgyan. “And always remember, if you believe it and dream it, you can be it.”

(Photo by: Jacqueline Kamei)

“These are very challenging times that call for each of us to lead ourselves to be our best, to eliminate hate, racism, and discrimination from our beliefs and actions, to develop within ourselves a shared sense of humanity, to gather accurate information upon which to make informed decisions, to treat others with respect and dignity even when you do not agree with them, to see problems and step forward to help solve them, to speak out when you see wrong,” Dr. Viar said. “Never forget, you are a leader.”

 

To see GCC’s commencement, visit: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8UwhUnES2A 

 

Jacqueline Kamei can be reached at [email protected]