On a clear but blustery day, hundreds of students received diplomas Friday as Allan Hancock College celebrated its 91st annual graduation ceremony in Santa Maria.
With a large an enthusiastic crowd looking on and cheering, the graduates made their way, one by one, across the stage set up on the Commons area of Hancock’s Santa Maria campus.
This year’s graduating class earned a total of 931 associate’s degrees in arts or sciences spread among 67 majors.
Of the 716 graduates, 149 graduated with honors for maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or above. Ten had a GPA of 4.0 and graduated with high honors.
“There is a common thread running throughout all of your educational experiences,” Superintendent/President José Ortiz told the graduates. “You have all overcome one obstacle after another. It is my hope that of all the things you have learned in your studies here at Hancock College that you realize how resourceful you have been to make this day possible.
“Every graduate sitting out here today had to, at one point or another, make a decision to commit and act in your best interest. It is in your interest to pursue higher learning at the college level as you prepare to move on from Hancock College. And it’s that experience in resourcefulness that will serve you well, as you make choices and decisions from here on out.”
Associated Student Body president Ulises Serrano also addressed the graduates and their families and friends.
“Many of us, despite our challenges, have seen opportunities others across the world could never dream of,” Serrano said. “We have to protect those opportunities and cherish what they represent for us: a chance to achieve our dreams.”
Brianne Smith and Erik Sanchez carried the college banners during the ceremony, which was streamed live on the college website and will be available next week via the college’s YouTube and Facebook pages.