MCCC celebrates its 55th Commencement with three drive-in ceremonies

By Diane VanDyke
Standing at 1,606 graduates, Montgomery County Community College's Class of 2022 is the largest class in the College's history. Photos by David DeBalko

Standing at 1,606 graduates, Montgomery County Community College's Class of 2022 is the largest class in the College's history. Photos by David DeBalko

With three drive-in ceremonies, Montgomery County Community College’s 55th Commencement was a full celebratory day for the Class of 2022 – the largest class to graduate in the College’s history.

Montco Class of 2022Standing at 1,606 graduates, the Class of 2022 collectively earned 1,664 degrees and certificates. Forty-two students graduated with a perfect 4.0, and five students earned their associate degrees before receiving their high school diplomas. Members of the class range in age from 16 to 73 years, and 550 students are first-generation college graduates.

President Bastecki-Perez and Clintaysha Hampton, student speaker “Your education at Montco has prepared you for this day and for the many opportunities beyond it. Throughout your journey, you kept your Montco Momentum going, developing the daily discipline it takes to achieve your goals,” said Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, MCCC President, during the ceremonies. “Graduates, I am confident that you will inspire, lead and transform lives, destinies and future generations.”

MCCC Board of Trustees Chair Varsovia Fernandez congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to continue the next steps in their journey.

Varsovia Fernandez“At Montco, we believe that education advances equity, opportunity and social justice,” said Fernandez. “Education opens the door for possibilities and now it is your time to pursue those possibilities.”

Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners; Joseph Gallagher, Chair of MCCC’s Foundation Board; and William Vitiello, Chair of MCCC’s Alumni Board, presented messages of congratulations and inspiration through video presentations.

Joseph Gallagher, Foundation ChairGallagher, in addition to serving on the Foundation Board, is also one of the graduates of the Class of 2022. Following his retirement from operating a family-owned business, he started taking classes in 2017, fulfilling a lifelong aspiration to complete the degree he started when he graduated from high school.

This year’s student speaker, Clintaysha Hampton, 25, of Plymouth Meeting, spoke about the  persistence and determination it took to finish her goal of earning her Medical Assisting certificate.

Montco largest class“I know a lot of you have felt this same feeling, like you’ve hit a brick wall, like there is nowhere to go, like no matter how hard you try, it is just never enough,” said Hampton. “I’ve met some amazing faculty members and even more amazing and encouraging friends along the way, and without their support I don’t know where I’d be.”

“This may be the end of our time at Montco, but our futures are wide open. It’s only up from here,” she said. “Congratulations, Montco graduating Class of 2022! Go Mustangs!”

Dr. Kendall Martin, Professor of Computer ScienceIn addition to celebrating the graduates and their accomplishments, the College presented the 2022 Gladys and Raymond Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence to Dr. Kendall Martin, Professor of Computer Science.

One of the students who nominated Dr. Martin said, “She is so passionate about computer science and teaching students. She wants to see her students succeed. I love it when she gets excited about us when we figure out how to do something.”

In addition to the Pearlstine Award, MCCC presented the Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards sponsored by eCampus Bookstore to John Pilla, Math Senior Lecturer, and Daryl Walmer, Chemistry Senior Lecturer.

SRT students and faculty Prior to the start of each ceremony, the graduates and their families and friends watched the video of the Class of 2022 original song, “Montco Family.” The words and music were written by student Colin Foley and was sung and performed by students Summer Ashley, Ricky Valentine, Anthony Cheney, Marley McElrea, Vern White, Justin Fisher, Sara Menezes, Grace Wynn and Ariel Olsher. The music was engineered and mastered by David Ivory, Director of Sound Recording and Music Technology; Michael Kelly, Assistant Professor of Music; Evan Healy, engineer; Quinn Szentz, engineer; and Matthew Porter, Senior Producer and Technical Services Manager. Faculty and staff members Sarah Kane, Ron DiSilvestro and Howie Gordan also assisted with the production. 

Summer AshleySummer Ashley, a 2022 Sound Recording and Music Technology graduate, sang the National Anthem for the ceremonies. The Norristown resident plans to pursue a career in music, and she was thrilled to be selected as this year’s Commencement singer. 

 

All three ceremonies were livestreamed.