Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 11:39 pm | Overcast 66º


Allan Hancock College Celebrates Class of 2018 at Commencement

Campus has a record-setting year, graduating more than 1,000 students in a variety of disciplines

Hancock College graduates holding banners. Click to view larger
The Allan Hancock College class of 2018 begins the march to the graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon at the direction of Andrew Masuda, director of public affairs and communications (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Allan Hancock College on Friday celebrated the class of 2018 and its record-setting 1,009 students, who earned 1,527 associate degrees in 96 majors during the 97th annual commencement ceremony on the Santa Maria campus.

"Allan Hancock College is your community college," said Hilda Zacarías, president of the college board of trustees. "It is a place to imagine your future and a place to make it happen. 

“Whether you are going to continue your education at the university level or start a new career, today is the day that marks the start of your new journey,” she added.

The ceremony held outside on The Commons included graduates sporting elaborately decorated caps, with saysing such as “Now hotter by one degree,” and “I took care of business.” 

This year’s graduates numbered 2 percent more than last year and earned 8 percent more degrees than their predecessors. They also received 853 certificates of achievement in the last year, a 4-percent jump over the prior year.

"I have never seen a class more passionate and dedicated than the class I see before me today," said Associated Student Body Government President Frankie Maldonado, who called graduation a bittersweet moment.

Hancock College graduates Click to view larger
Allan Hancock College students athletes mug for the camera as they walk toward the graduation ceremony location on Friday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

"When I look into this crowd, I see future military, doctors, nurses, lawyers, first responders, mathematicians, engineers, teachers, but most importantly, I see kind-hearted people who are going to rise up and leave their mark on the world," Maldonado said.

For the 17th year in a row, Hancock College students had the highest transfer acceptance rate in the state to Cal Poly, officials said. Fifty percent of Hancock students who applied to transfer into Cal Poly in fall 2018 were accepted, more than triple the state average of 15.6 percent.

"This is a very special day of the year because today is about celebrating your accomplishments and remembering this as a milestone in your journey, whether you are starting a new career or heading off to a university," said Nohemy Ornelas, associate superintendent/vice president of student services. 

"Each of you has a unique journey — your own story of perseverance and overcoming challenges to achieve your degrees. You represent the greatness of Allan Hancock College,” added Ornelas, who graduated from Hancock previously and said she hoped the new graduates would be proud of their Bulldog roots.

Clever caps on Hancock College graduate. Click to view larger
Allan Hancock College graduates sported decorated caps for the graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The night before graduation, the Hancock College Foundation hosted its annual Scholarship Banquet, awarding nearly $500,000 combined to 318 students.

Hancock student Annalise Ketz received the Marian Hancock Scholarship. Named in honor of the late wife of Captain G. Allan Hancock, the scholarship is awarded to one outstanding student each year who exemplifies service to the school, scholastic achievement and personal conduct.

Ketz plans to transfer to the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall.

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.

Hancock College graduates Click to view larger
Allan Hancock College students look up at a drone flying over the commencement locale on Friday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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