Grab your tassel and gown: it’s time to graduate!

Written by: Susanna Pehrson
About 500 students are expected to attend BCC’s graduation ceremony, which takes place on June 13 at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony does not provide students with the actual diploma, but is a way to recognize and honor those who have graduated during fall and winter 2007, and the students that will graduate in spring and summer 2008. “All the students that apply for graduation in the summer can attend the ceremony, it doesn’t matter that they have not actually graduated yet,” said Catherine Kwong, director of the Evaluations/Assessment Office. This opportunity is provided to make it easier for students that transfer to universities far away to attend. Kwong said that many students who graduated during the fall still come back to BCC for this ceremony, however. Approximately 1,800 students graduate each year from BCC, according to Roberta Gray, program assistant at the Evaluations/Assessment Offic. This year 1,835 students will graduate, of whom 1,337 will graduate with a transfer degree. This is also the first time ever students from the Venture Program, a program designed for students with special needs for learning focusing on social and life skills as well as academics and workforce development, will graduate. Four students will graduate from the program with an Associate degree in Arts General Studies. The commencement will have Martin Bean, general manager for the Education Products Group at Microsoft, as keynote speaker after an introductory welcome by Jean Floten, president of BCC. Bean has more than 17 years in the training and education marketplace and is a recognized industry leader around the world. He has held executive management roles in several leading IT organizations, including Novell, Sylvan Learning Systems and Thomson Learning. He is also a committed spokesperson for education and on reforms to meet the needs of today’s workforce. The student speaker will be Sergey Smirnov, ASG Vice President of Pluralism and Student Affairs. Smirnov graduates this year from BCC, but hopes that he in the future will come back to BCC and work here, since he would like to work in the field of higher education. “I sure will miss it [BCC], but it’s a good time to leave. I’ve learned a lot. I’m ready to move on to new things, ” said Smirnov. The commencement also features BCC’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble Celebration! Which will perform three songs before the awarding starts. Students will line up outside in the courtyard in groups in accordance to their degrees or, if they are transfer students, in the cafeteria, and will march in behind the chairman/chairwoman of their respective department. All students attending are eligible to attend and can borrow a cap and a gown from the bookstore. Since no actual diplomas are given out, students receive a diploma cover at the commencement, to be used later for the diploma. The graduation ceremony is free and will be followed by a reception in the cafeteria.