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Graduation at PCC is a Community Affair
Photos and Story by Mark Evertz
Students of all ages, walks of life and ethnic make-up will take center stage at Portland Community College’s 36th commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 13th, 3 p.m., at the Memorial Coliseum.
Portland Community College, the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon, celebrates its students and their academic and personal accomplishments at commencement exercises on Saturday, June 13, at the Memorial Coliseum. "The stories of personal triumph and commitment to an education to better oneself, to provide for one’s family, and to be part of the American dream are found at the community college," said PCC President Dan Moriarty. "It is a great honor to recognize our students’ academic achievement."
Commencement speaker this year is Rep. Margaret Carter, who represents District 18 in northeast Portland and is also a counselor for students in the PCC Skill Center. Carter most previously was the chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. She has represented the northeast precinct as a legislator for 13 years. Carter, a long-time advocate of educational opportunity, is currently a candidate for the superintendent of Oregon schools.
Commencement emcee is Cascade Campus Executive Dean Mildred Ollee. Student speaker is Rene Pearson, who will receive her associate of arts Oregon transfer degree. Rene, a single parent, says, "My son sees me working toward a goal, and he’s learning how important it is to get an education." Rene earned a scholarship from the Ford Foundation of Roseberg her sophomore year that pays for her education at any Oregon private or public college. She chose to complete her associate’s degree at PCC before transferring to a four-year school. "I’m getting a fabulous education here," she said.
Approximately 1,800 students will be granted associate degrees, certificates, high school diplomas, and GED’s. The youngest graduate to earn an associate of arts Oregon Transfer degree, as well as his high school diploma, is 18-year-old Steve Ewing. Ewing actually earned his associate’s degree last fall when he was 17. He intends to work for a year to earn money to complete a bachelor’s degree. Ewing, who lives in Beaverton with his family, has worked part time to pay for his tuition to attend PCC.