CCAC celebrates 2018 Commencement with inspirational and eloquent speeches

Dr. Quintin Bullock
CCAC graduate Tiffany HaThanh Hoppe
Stefani Pashman
CCAC Class of 2018 graduates
Rich Fitzgerald
 
Article by: CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH-The Community College of Allegheny County conferred degrees, certificates and diplomas on more than 500 graduates at its 51st annual commencement ceremony held Thursday, May 17, at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland. A gathering of approximately 3,000 students, family members, faculty, staff and other guests attended to recognize the participating graduates. A total of 2,318 CCAC students were candidates for graduation.

"Today is the day that we-CCAC's faculty, staff and board members, along with many family members and friends-recognize and celebrate the 2,318 graduates who, through hard work, persistence, motivation and determination, have earned a credential they will carry with them for the rest of their lives-the gift and reward of a college education," said CCAC President Dr. Quintin Bullock in his welcoming remarks.

Mariann Do, student reflections speaker, spoke of her experiences at CCAC as a child of Asian immigrants who grew up in poverty. Despite working three jobs while attending school full time, Do became a North Campus Student Ambassador and repeatedly made the Academic Dean's List. She will transfer to Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, to pursue degrees in Digital Media Arts and Music Technology.

"I knew I had to prove the world wrong. No one would expect the daughter of two immigrants who barely had enough to get by to go to college and graduate," stated Do. "But I stand before you, a CCAC graduate! I came to find that at CCAC my story is not unique. So many others work hard and push hard to find their way as well."

Rich Fitzgerald, county executive, introduced Stefani Pashman, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, who served as the college's 2018 Commencement speaker. Pashman delivered an inspirational message to the graduates, in which she exhorted them to continue the efforts of civic leaders who strove to make Pittsburgh a better place, showing what's possible when people work together to find common ground. 

"I encourage each of you to think about your future; it's more than a job-it's the impact you can have as a part of the community," said Pashman. "Be a lifelong learner and keep working hard. Each obstacle will teach you something. Be resilient and keep moving forward."

Faculty speaker Dr. Srujana Kanjula, professor of Political Science and Sociology at North Campus, urged the graduates to grow and develop both academically and morally.

"As you move on, you must continue to take advantage of all opportunities and challenges of life to build your character on sound lines," said Kanjula. "Respect yourself with self-confidence. Respect others with compassion. Respect differences with an open mind and an open heart. Become all that you are capable of becoming in life by utilizing your talents and capacities to the fullest extent. Above all, use your education as a tool to leave the world a better place than you found it."

Other speakers included Frederick Thieman, chair, CCAC Board of Trustees and member of the CCAC Educational Foundation Board of Directors, and Jesse Campayno, member of the CCAC Educational Foundation Board of Directors and CCAC alumnus, class of 1981.  

Among the Class of 2018 are 154 students graduating Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors), having achieved a 3.9-4.0 GPA. One such graduate is Tiffany HaThanh Hoppe, who earned an  Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technician and also graduated with an Honors Degree. Hoppe, who emigrated from Vietnam four years ago, was among nine CCAC students selected for the 2018 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team. She was very active in Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and served as the PTK Middle States Region Pennsylvania State President (2017-2018). She received the PTK Regional Officer Scholarship for Leadership, and as PR Secretary of the South Campus chapter, she helped the chapter to achieve a prestigious 5-Star Award. Hoppe also served as an ambassador for the CCAC Student Ambassador Program and the CCAC Honors Program, and she was named an Honors Leadership Scholar. Her other leadership roles include president of the CCAC South Campus Student Government Association (2015-2017). Hoppe plans to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology with the goal of becoming a pathologist.

To view CCAC commencement photos or videos, go to facebook.com/CCAC.edu or instagram.com/ccac_edu.

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