About 445 SBCC graduates walked Friday in the 62nd annual commencement ceremony, the largest number of participants in the college’s history.

In the 2010-11 academic year, 1,643 students received associate degrees or certificates in 109 majors. A total of 1,094 received an associate of arts or associate of science degree, and 549 received a certificate. Many of the graduates earned multiple awards. Ninety two already had a bachelor’s degree or higher when they chose to go back to college. A total of 219 graduated with honors, which means they completed an associate degree with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

“Santa Barbara City College is a leading community college in the state and nation,” SBCC Superintendent/President Dr. Andreea Serban said. “I am proud to be the president of our exceptional college, and I hope you are proud to have been the students of such a great institution.”

Serban also talked about the diversity of the graduating class.

SBCC Superintendent/President Dr. Andreea Serban addresses the graduates.

SBCC Superintendent/President Dr. Andreea Serban addresses the graduates. (SBCC photo)

“Our 2011 graduates come from the Santa Barbara area, from throughout California, from 40 states across the United States, and from 28 countries,” she said. “Our graduates today are 18 years old, 64 years old and almost every age in between. You are European American, African American, Latino, Asian and Native American. You are full-time undergraduates in your early 20s, students adding to your credentials and academic preparation, and returning and adult students who studied while holding full-time jobs — a formidable accomplishment.”

In her closing remarks, Serban congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to define and pursue fully their own American dream.

Student keynote speaker Sam Shipley, the first student athlete to speak at commencement, encouraged his fellow graduates to never give up on their goals and never allow anyone else to determine what they can accomplish.

A sophomore linebacker, Shipley was a key player on the Vaqueros football team during 2010-11 and was named SBCC Male Athlete of the Year. He was selected to the first-team All American Pacific Conference as a linebacker and has accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Maine. He and his wife are the parents of a 9-month-old son.

— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.