Allan Hancock College has honored its 1,888 graduates with a video address by Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers.
The college couldn’t hold its annual commencement because of COVID-19, but Dr. Walthers used the video to celebrate the graduates’ achievements. Collectively, the students earned a record 2,207 associate degrees at the Santa Maria college.
“Coronavirus has changed everything about the way we conduct our daily lives, and it has certainly changed the way you finished your college career,” Dr. Walthers told students. “We are so proud of the accomplishments you’ve made, and I know Capt. G. Allan Hancock would also be very proud to see what this college has become.”
The number of student graduates is up approximately 48 percent from the previous year, according to a news release from the college. The number of degrees has increased by 23 percent.
Students also earned 850 certificates of achievements this year.
“This college is what it is because of the commitments and sacrifices you and your families have made to get here,” Dr. Walthers said.
“You didn’t just check off some boxes or jump through a bunch of hoops,” he continued. “Our faculty has also been with you all the way: helping you write papers, helping you with chemistry experiments and helping to finish your assignments on time and in a way that shows you have really learned what you are studying.”
During the pandemic, Allan Hancock College arranged for most of its classes to have remote formats. The college also maintained student support services such as academic counseling, tutoring, health services and other programs virtually.
“Despite this strange and challenging time for our graduating class of 2020, we should look to our accomplishments and be proud that we not only attained our goals of graduating but we did so in one of the most difficult circumstances,” Tyler Little, the college’s associated student body president, said in the news release.
Mr. Little, a graduate in film and video production, praised the joint effort of students, teachers, staff and administrators.
Other stand-out graduates this year include Michael Mensah, captain of the college’s men’s basketball team; Allan Hancock College nursing program graduates Alejandra and Max Estrada, who are siblings; Arturo “Cheech” Raygoza, co-founder of the Beyond Incarceration Greater Education club; and Diana De Leon, a key women’s soccer player at the college.
“Hancock changed my life because it helped me reach for the stars and make great opportunities for myself,” Ms. Diana De Leon said.
The athlete, who earned a full-ride scholarship to Fresno State University, expressed gratitude for what the college has taught her.
In May, the college delayed its 2020 commencement and is looking at how to celebrate graduation safely during the pandemic. Current plans call for a ceremony in August.
For more information, go to www.hancockcollege.edu/graduation.