Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 2:58 pm | Partly Cloudy 67º

 
 
 
 

Allan Hancock College Holds 95th Commencement

Nearly 900 students earn associates degrees, with another 669 receiving certificates of achievement at Friday's ceremony

The Class of 2016 makes its way onto the commencement grounds during the Allan Hancock College graduation ceremony Friday.
The Class of 2016 makes its way onto the commencement grounds during the Allan Hancock College graduation ceremony Friday. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

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The 95th commencement for Allan Hancock College celebrated the accomplishments of nearly 900 graduates Friday afternoon.

The ceremony on the Santa Maria campus noted 897 students earned a total 1,305 associate in arts or science degrees in 84 programs during the 2015-16 academic year. 

An additional 669 students received 712 certificates of achievements during the community college ceremony with nearly 2,000 people in attendance.

“Today is an embodiment of what it means to be a community college graduate,” Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers said.

“The students before you are prepared to take the next step in their lives as public servants, medical professionals, educators, welders, technicians or business owners. They are poised for greatness.”

Walthers noted the accomplishments of a number of students who persevered despite challenges and earned degrees, such as banner carriers leading the processional, Jeremiah Hernandez of Santa Maria and Rie Waldon of Lompoc. Hernandez will transfer to Cal Poly while Waldon plans to attend UCSB.

“We all have different stories which brought us to this institution, and we all have different struggles,” Kimberly Kallies, president of the Allan Hancock College Associated Student Body Government remarked during her address. “The one thing that we share is the fact that we are a testimony of the tremendous students that graduate from Allan Hancock College.”

Andrew Richey, of Orcutt, wears appropriate glasses that spell out “Grad” during Allan Hancock College’s 95th Commencement Friday. Click to view larger
Andrew Richey, of Orcutt, wears appropriate glasses that spell out “Grad” during Allan Hancock College’s 95th Commencement Friday. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

Friday’s ceremony occurred the day after the Allan Hancock College Foundation awarded a record $546,000 in scholarships to 375 students.

The event included awarding the prestigious Marian Hancock Scholarship, which went to first-generation college student Gabriel Nava of Santa Maria.

He plans to transfer to University of California, Berkeley where he will major in computer science after a summer internship at Stanford University, Hancock officials said.

The scholarship, now $5,000, was started in honor of the late Marian Hancock, the wife of Captain G. Allan Hancock, for whom the college was named.

Of the graduates for the academic year, 167 graduated with honors for maintaining a grade point average of 3.5 or above. Eight of those students, including Waldon, maintained a perfect GPA of 4.0 and graduated with high honors.

Jeremiah Hernandez, left, of Santa Maria receives his degree from Superintendent/President Dr. Kevin Walthers during the Allan Hancock College Commencement Friday. Click to view larger
Jeremiah Hernandez, left, of Santa Maria receives his degree from Superintendent/President Dr. Kevin Walthers during the Allan Hancock College Commencement Friday. (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

Others were Xiao Xiao Bao, Marisela Beas, Melody Grigg, Justin Thompson and Genna West of Santa Maria; Skyler Ceronio of Nipomo and Kathryn Loomis of Arroyo Grande.

The average age of students graduating was 27, the youngest being Alexandria Blankenship of Lebanon, Virginia, who along with 33 other students graduated at age 19. The oldest graduate, Arthur Campbell of Lompoc, graduated at age 65 in human services: addiction studies with a 4.0 GPA.

“I hope you will dream big,” Walthers said. “If you follow your heart and be good at what you love, you will go far.”

The ceremony was streamed live on the Allan Hancock College website and will be available next week via the college’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, college officials said.

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.

Gael Miranda, 5, of Santa Maria holds a sign for his uncle, Johnny Sanchez before the 2016 Allan Hancock College 95th Commencement Friday. Click to view larger
Gael Miranda, 5, of Santa Maria holds a sign for his uncle, Johnny Sanchez before the 2016 Allan Hancock College 95th Commencement Friday.  (Frank Cowan / Noozhawk photo)

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