Community College of Philadelphia president, Dr. Donald Generals, welcomed and addressed the College's 2019 graduating class at the 53rd Commencement on May 4. U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA.), a graduate of CCP and La Salle University, was the principal speaker at the Commencement ceremony that began at 10 a.m. in The Liacouras Center.
"Having the avenue of community college available made a huge difference for me," said Evans, who graduated from CCP with an associate degree in 1973. "I believe community college can be a great stepping stone for you, as it was for me."
A total of 1,881 students were candidates for graduation this year. Thousands of family and friends witnessed the graduates’ milestone and cheered the students on as they walked down the aisle to celebrate their academic achievements at CCP, the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania.
“Never compare your growth to the growth of others, because we have been placed on our own paths for specific reasons,” said Amber Young, CCP’s 2019 class speaker and candidate for graduation in the Liberal Arts – Social/Behavioral Science program. “The College has helped you to get on your path of possibilities, so you are empowered to take your greatness to the next phase of your life.”
One of the many students who donned a cap and gown was radio personality Kevin Ceasar, also known as Mutha Knows on Power 99-FM’s “The Tea.” At 43 years old, Ceasar graduated with a Mass Media degree and became the first in his family to graduate from a school of higher education.
This year’s Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship recipient, Anyssa Elmanfaa, was also the first in her family to attain a college degree. Graduating with high honors and an associate degree in International Studies, Elmanfaa plans to use her scholarship money of up to $40k per year to attend either Bucknell University or Swarthmore College.
Six high school seniors from Mathematics, Science and Technology (MaST) Community Charter School graduated with associate degrees prior to receiving their high school diplomas. Nadeen Al-Saleem, Gilbert Drutsky, Marta Gorstka, William Hartner, Shiv Patel and Sara Wolfenden completed their degrees as part of the second cohort to graduate under MC2, a special dual enrollment program created through a partnership between MaST and CCP in 2015.
“I think it’s an amazing experience,” said Al-Saleem, who credits MC2 with helping her win the Liberty Scholarship, which will cover full tuition and board at Drexel University. “I know they’re super selective for who they chose for [the Liberty Scholarship], and when I said I was going to graduate with my associate’s, I’m sure they thought, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’”
During the Commencement exercises, Dr. Generals announced that Laura Davidson, associate professor of Dietetics and Allied Health, was the 2019 winner of the Lindback Distinguished Teaching award. Supported by the Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation, the annual award recognizes a faculty member for excellence in teaching and includes a $4,000 stipend.