Enthusiastic audience watches in-person graduation at Allan Hancock College
Families and friends cheered during an in-person commencement Friday morning on the football field of Allan Hancock College’s Santa Maria campus.
This was Hancock’s 101st graduating class with a record-breaking 1,490 students. They earned a total of 2,213 degrees and 959 certificates of achievement across 101 different majors.
Of the 2022 graduating class, 97% were from California, with 13 students from other states and three students from other countries. The student who had traveled the farthest was from Guam. The second farthest was from Sweden.
Additionally, 14 veterans were in the graduating class with four in active duty or active reserve. Two graduates were military dependents.
On Friday, more than 480 students participated in the commencement.
Jeffrey Hall, president of the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees, congratulated the graduates on completing their studies despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know the last couple of years have been challenging, but you rose to the challenge. and I know that each of you is well prepared to achieve greatness after you walk across this stage today.” Mr. Hall said.
“I hope you will look back on your time here at Hancock with both fondness and pride,” he said. “I hope you will remember all those who helped you along the way — and in true Bulldog fashion, pay that kindness forward by supporting others as you were supported.
“Never forget that you will always be a part of the Allan Hancock family,” Mr. Hall said.
Marcela Viveros, president of the Associated Student Body Government, addressed the future as she spoke to the graduates.
“Your graduation should serve as a launching point, projecting you to to wherever your future takes you,” Ms. Viveros said. “I hope you can all take this as a sign of greater achievement, as an example of how everything is truly possible when you put your mind to it.”
Dr. Roger Hall stressed the pursuit of dreams, as well as the pandemic, in his commencement address.
“As I look across you assembled, what do I see? I see people wearing funny square hats … I see dangling tassels,” Dr. Hall said. “I see hope, and I see expectation. I see the future.
“We’re counting on you, seriously … Let’s be honest. It’s hard out there. The last two years have reminded us that life is uncertain … It is often simply unfair … There is much that we cannot control …
“You as students did not give up. The class of 2022 was handed the most unplanned and unfair set of obstacles to your education,” Dr. Hall said. “But here you are. I tip my square hat to you in admiration.”
Dr. Hall reminded the graduates that “nothing is impossible.”
“Figure out what your dream is and how you can turn it into a reality,” he said. “The only way I can see for you to do that is to work hard and to have experiences and to keep getting educated — in school or not, it does not really matter. Let life be your education. …
“The planet needs you. The environment needs you. Our republic needs you,” Dr. Hall said. “So make your mark, graduates. Leave one little corner of the world a better place for you having been in it.”
Dr. Kevin G. Walthers, superintendent/president of Allan Hancock College, gave graduates advice to close the commencement.
“Compared to their peers with a high school diploma, the class of 2022 is more likely to vote, and for God’s sakes, please vote,” Dr. Walthers said. “Graduates, you have earned your degrees. But let me explain to you what that means.
“It means that the faculty of Allan Hancock College have observed your work, measured your talent and deemed you worthy of an associate’s degree,” he said. “Today your professors, counselors, staff and administrators are roundly affirming that you possess the inherent qualities of an educated person worthy of a degree. …
Today’s event is a celebration of accomplishment and the embodiment of what it means to be a community college graduate,” Dr. Walthers said.
“Class of 2022, I implore you to use your skill you learned at Allan Hancock College to be a force for change.”