Wednesday, October 17 , 2018, 8:32 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Allan Hancock College Celebrates Class of 2017

Graduates at 96th commencement set several records, college officials said

A graduate’s cap says it all Friday at Allan Hancock College. Click to view larger
A graduate’s cap says it all Friday at Allan Hancock College. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Allan Hancock College’s 96th commencement Friday afternoon celebrated the class of 2017, boasting a record-setting 993 members who achieved other key milestones.

“Today you are at the end of a journey that is also a beginning and a new adventure,” Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers said. “You are proof that when you start here, you can go anywhere.”

This year’s graduates earned 1,411 record-setting degrees plus 817 certificates with 93 majors.

“Those are also records,” said Nohemy Ornelas, Hancock's associate superintendent/vice president of student services.

Many received more than one degree, with Emmett Lambert, earning 10 degrees, most of which were in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“Congratulations on making the rest of your class look like slackers,” Ornelas added.

Lambert was among 64 percent of Hancock College students accepted to Cal Poly after applying to attend the San Luis Obispo campus this fall. This acceptance rate extended to 16 years the streak for the state’s highest transfer acceptance rate to Cal Poly, officials noted.

Another student highlighted during the ceremony was Marcellus Garrick, who became the first in his family to earn a college degree, and the first Hancock men’s basketball player to sign a national letter of intent with Cal Poly since the Mustangs turned Division I in 1994.

Science instructor D.K. PHilbin waves farewell after speaking at the Allan Hancock College graduation ceremony on Friday. Click to view larger
Science instructor D.K. PHilbin waves farewell after speaking at the Allan Hancock College graduation ceremony on Friday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“We are grateful for his leadership showing what it means to be a student athlete,” Walthers said of Garrick, who came to the college from South Carolina.

Santa Ynez Valley resident Greg Pensa, president of the Hancock board of trustees, noted the value of a college education. 

“Your determination and perseverance will pay dividends both financially and emotionally,” Pensa said. “Students who earn a degree or certificate nearly double their earnings within three years. You’ve also nearly doubled your chance of finding a job compared to those who have not earned an associate degree.”

Retiring science instructor Donald “D.K.” Philbin offered words of advice for students, many of whom were born after he started teaching at the college in 1979.

“Relationships are very important. Please put away your dopamine delivery device and talk to your friends and colleagues,” he said, referring to smartphones and other technology.

The class of 2017 for Allan Hancock College begins the march toward the graduation ceremony venue on Friday afternoon. Click to view larger
The class of 2017 for Allan Hancock College begins the march toward the graduation ceremony venue on Friday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

He also told them to never stop learning.

“Education does not stop when you earn your degree,” he said. “In many ways, it’s just beginning.”

His voice broke with emotion as he bid farewell, with students and staff giving him a standing ovation.

The day before graduation, the Allan Hancock College Foundation celebrated its 40th anniversary by breaking two records at its annual Scholarship Awards Reception. 

A record 470 scholarships, worth more than $500,000, were awarded to a record 391 Hancock College students. 

During the ceremony, Hancock sophomore Rachel Naugle received the prestigious Marian Hancock Scholarship, awarded to one outstanding student each year who exemplifies service to the school, scholastic achievement and personal conduct.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Marcellus Garrick listens to speeches during the Allan Hancock College graduation ceremon. He is the first AHC’s men’s basketball player to sign a national letter of intent with Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since the Mustangs turned Division I in 1994. Click to view larger
Marcellus Garrick listens to speeches during the Allan Hancock College graduation ceremon. He is the first AHC’s men’s basketball player to sign a national letter of intent with Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since the Mustangs turned Division I in 1994. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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