FORT MOHAVE - Mohave Community College saluted more than 300 graduates during the 45th annual commencement ceremony held May 13 at the Mojave Crossing Event Arena in Ft. Mohave.
"This is a milestone that launches critical perspective and sheds new light on your ability to accomplish your ultimate goals," MCC Board of Governors President Phyllis M. Smith said.
For the Class of 2016, MCC awarded 435 degrees in associate of applied science degrees, and degrees in art, business, or science and 303 certificates of proficiency to 552 graduates. Certificates can be completed in less time than a degree and are a stepping-stone to employment or an associate degree. MCC also honored 102 General Education Development (GED) graduates during the ceremony.
There were 90 graduates from the Kingman campus, including 72 first-generation college students.
According to Libby Hanks, marketing manager for MCC, based on the spring graduate candidate list, the top three programs at the Kingman campus with the highest awards were: Liberal Arts, 10 awards; Social Behavioral Science, 8 awards; Nursing, 7 awards (the total includes both degrees/certificates).
The top three programs for the college as a whole were: Nursing, 48 awards; Liberal Arts 39 awards; Medical Assisting-Phlebotomy, 20 awards.
Two first-generation Kingman college students were among the graduates.
Chad Glentz, a 2011 Kingman Academy High School graduate, got an associate degree in welding and talked about his motivation and experience.
"My mom had worked at the college," he said. "I got free tuition and liked the program and the instructor.
"My parents were all for it. My dad went to trade school. My mom wanted me to go for dental hygiene. If I got a degree in anything that would be great."
Glentz started studying business but switched to welding for something more hands-on. He said one of the most challenging aspects of school was time management. He worked full time as a diesel mechanic and took night classes during the two years at MCC.
"The hardest part was staying with it," he admitted.
Glentz plans to head to Northern Arizona University to pursue bachelor degree in business.
Jessica Head graduated from KAHS in 2012 and received her associate degree in nursing this month.
"It makes me really proud to make a stand in my family and be the first one to get a degree and make them proud," she said. "They're very proud. They've helped in every way they could. I couldn't have done this without my family."
She didn't really consider alternatives to college and was always pushed to do well in high school.
"I was always motivated to go to college. I want to give myself a future."
Head also juggled a hectic schedule.
"Trying to work, be a family member and keep all aspects of my life together and do well in school," she said. "Nursing is very hard in general."
She plans to start working on a bachelor degree through an online college and hopes the best for younger relatives.
"I just hope they stay motivated in school and get the same motivation from the family."
"We're incredibly proud of our graduates and the commitment they made to improve their lives and our county through education," said MCC President Dr. Michael Kearns. "MCC commends them on their accomplishments and we're incredibly proud to have been part of their journey toward a degree or certificate."
More than 1,500 attended the ceremony. MCC has campuses in Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City and Colorado City.
For more information about MCC, go to www.mohave.edu or call (866) 664-2832.