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This content was published: June 17, 2019. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Picture This! 57th commencement showcases a thousand graduates, memories

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Graduate photos

Graduates, for official photography from the approved vendor, visit the company’s website to request your photo.

Student smiles on coliseum floor.

This year, Portland Community College’s 57th commencement ceremony was about more than simply earning a degree. It was about a symbolic celebration of how PCC graduates are building the workforce. Last Friday (June 14) in the Memorial Coliseum, more than 1,000 graduates walked across the coliseum stage to receive their associate degree or certificate.

Grad outside with mother.

Community colleges like PCC are the economic engine for the region, providing not only educated residents but a trained workforce to fill the skills gap. In Oregon, 50 percent of all jobs are considered “middle skill jobs,” which means they require education beyond high school but not necessarily a four-year degree.

Veyda Hernandez stands during anthem.

Stories of perseverance abounded. These included PCC grads Margarita and Veyda Hernandez (pictured), a mother-daughter tandem who both overcame obstacles to become academic success stories. There was student speaker Jess Kurtz, who graduated in maritime welding after sustaining a life-threatening scooter accident. There was Eric Pennella, who didn’t let Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stop getting his one-year Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) certificate. And there were Audrey Broussard and Jennifer Thornton, who both went from being high school dropouts to Ophthalmic Medical Technology Program grads!

Instructor claps for the graduates.

There were more than 5,000 people in attendance at the Memorial Coliseum to celebrate the newly minted graduates.

Happy grad in coliseum.

Out of the roughly 4,800 total degrees and certificates being awarded this year, more than 1,200 are short-term career technical education certificates.

Graduates posing in fun zone area.

In the staging area near the arena, graduates were treated to a “fun zone” where they could get their selfies taken with colorful swag, masks and buttons to document their accomplishments.

Valdez Bravo, Tricia Brand and Josh Peters McBride.

From left, the fun folks include outgoing PCC Board Trustee Valdez Bravo, Chief Diversity Officer Tricia Brand and Southeast Campus Dean of Student Development Josh Peters McBride.

Memorial Coliseum, exterior.

Lines build just before PCC opens the gates to the Coliseum, or famously known as the Glass Palace. This historic venue dedicated to U.S. veterans of wars was the site of the 1977 NBA championship won by the Portland Trail Blazers.

President Mitsui congratulates graduates.

PCC President Mark Mitsui walks through the staging area to congratulate the 2019 graduates.

Two female grads take a cell phone selfie.

During commencement, it’s always “selfie time.”

Girl posing in a fun way outside coliseum.

A graduate has some fun just before the ceremony starts.

Student with a weird, ornate hat.

And, of course, many graduates decorate their caps. A few even get uber creative or simply want to send a message of triumph.

Another cool decorated cap.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Public Relations Manager at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic, Wo... more »

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x by Erin 2 years ago

Congratulations 2019 graduates! I wish you all the very best,rock on!

x by Deborah Hall 2 years ago

Awesome pics of our cherished graduates/new PCC alumni!!! What a night that was!

x by ryan.flynn 2 years ago

Congratulations Graduates I wish there were more. PCC needs to get stronger and better programs to encourage more graduates. Not counting the high school (duel enrollment) graduates (these are still low numbers for a big college). You the graduates stand out.

x by Luz Maciel Villarroel 2 years ago

Congratulations, to each and every student who has graduated with the Class of 2019. This is a big accomplishment not only for you, but also for your family, community and for each one of us who have supported your efforts here at Portland Community College and throughout your life.

Congratulations, with respect and gratitude, Luz