Commencement 2010

Judy Walters, Commencement 2010

Good evening.

Honored guests, board members, faculty, staff, graduates and certificate recipients - it is my pleasure to welcome you to Diablo Valley College's commencement ...of the CLASS of 2010.

DVC offered its first classes to the community 60 years ago. For 60 years, we have honored our passionate commitment to student learning through the intellectual, scientific, artistic, psychological, and ethical development of our diverse student body. I am so happy to be here tonight celebrating the achievements of our graduates. This is why we all come to work every day!

At Diablo Valley College, we focus on student learning and achievement. We prepare students for transfer to four-year universities; we provide career/technical education; we support the economic development of the region; and we offer pre-collegiate programs.

Well over a million students have studied here—thousands have gone on to the world's finest universities, while others have used their new knowledge and skills to begin satisfying and fulfilling careers. We add value to student’s lives … because of what people learn here, they are better equipped to live more complete and rewarding lives and enrich our communities.

For 60 years, DVC has been sending students out into the community and the world, but the scale, scope, and speed at which the world around us is changing, grows faster every year. In 2006 a UN report stated, “Almost half of the global population is under the age of 24.” In addition, over 50 percent of our population now lives in urban areas. These rapidly growing urban areas are interconnected as never before, and the ease of sharing information is causing an acceleration of technological advances that can be barely comprehended.

We are beginning to understand what it means to live in a global society. Industrial, economic, informational, technological and socio-cultural events that happen around the world affect us here and now. Witness the current effects on the economics occurring worldwide due to changes in Greece and Spain affecting the stability of the Euro.

We all understand that there are significant changes occurring in our climate, and yet the implications are not fully known. The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an example of a horrendous event that will affect our planet and life systems in ways that have not yet even begun to be identified. Now more than ever before, it is clear we are all in this together…we only have one planet. We can no longer think about the impact of our own decisions only within our own geographic region; the stakes are much higher. Globalization is making our world smaller while making our individual impact on the world much larger.

With the explosion of innovation, and the fast pace of change occurring, we are currently training students to thrive and flourish in jobs that have not yet even been invented. We clearly have to teach our students to think critically and embrace the possibilities of opportunities in this new society.

At DVC, we fully embrace and participate in our global society, even as we struggle to understand all of the implications. Our approach to education at DVC is what I call “Whole College Learning”, referring to our individual participation as part of a much larger whole. We are proud that we participate in educating students to meet the challenges of finding their place not only in our community, but in our world. Our 2009-10 enrollment of 34,000 students included 1700 international students representing over 50 countries.

We celebrate tonight as we send our students out to find their place and to make their impact in this exciting global workplace. This workplace will be changed by our students; it is yet to be defined by our students.

And look at our graduates. They are the future doctors, nurses, lawyers, city planners, teachers, council members, senators, judges, inventors, environmentalists, scientists, and workers of every trade; they will be creating the world of our future.

A recent projection states that by the year 2025, 41 percent of the jobs in California will require at least a bachelor’s degree. These will be creative, interesting, fast-paced jobs; jobs that will require the kinds of skills that we have begun to teach you here. We are proud to be an important foundation for your exciting future filled with unlimited possibility.

Tonight's graduation is a celebration. It is a milestone in your journey... it is a marker of progress before you begin your next phase. Tonight is a time to pause ... to reflect... to breathe...and to celebrate this achievement. And remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

It is my hope that DVC has nurtured you on your path to understanding and has instilled in you a set of values that you will affirm throughout your life. I hope you have developed the humanistic values on which a more just and secure world may be built, a more humane and inclusive world, in which we understand and care deeply about one another and our planet. Remember too, there are multiple truths and multiple realities.

I hope we have challenged you. I hope we have taught you while there are differences among people...those differences need not be feared... but be recognized for the opportunities they present to enrich our lives in countless ways.

I hope we have instilled in you the capacity to think critically and to see problems as creative possibilities, to respect your own views as well as the views of others... and most importantly, to live with courage and boldness. For without courage and a willingness to put yourself at risk for the things that matter to you, your true potential will never be fulfilled.

I hope we have prepared you for a lifetime of accomplishment and contribution. As you go through life, I urge you to remember how you learned from some extraordinary faculty members and you were served by our dedicated and caring staff. I hope that these connections that helped you get started, have influenced your lives in lasting ways.

We ask you to maintain your connection to the college and participate with us as alumni...to help us ensure that future generations of students will receive the same quality education and services that you enjoyed. We really take pleasure in receiving letters from students about what they are doing and how we at DVC contributed to that success.

This ceremony is called a commencement because it marks the beginning of a new phase in a lifelong process of learning and development. Tonight, we honor your achievements and the beginning of your new path. Whether you plan to transfer to a university or immediately start your career, I encourage you to continue your search for knowledge and understanding. I wish you success in fulfilling all of tonight's promise and potential.

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I thought you might like to know something about this class of 2010. In 1951 DVC had 11 graduates... tonight there are 482 graduates earning an AA or AS degree and 738 students will receive certificates.

Our youngest graduate this evening is Melissa Vincent who is 18 and will receive an associate's degree in Transfer Studies CSU, and a certificate of achievement, in CSU General Education.

Our youngest student receiving a certificate is Gabriela Lubaba, who is 17, and will receive a certificate of achievement in Spanish.

Dale E. Reamer is our oldest graduate, and he will receive an associate's degree in Computer Science.

Patricia Lapin is our oldest certificate recipient. She will receive a certificate of achievement in Addiction Studies.

Both Dale and Patricia are inspiring examples to us all that it is never too late to continue on a path of lifelong learning.

We have several family members graduating together tonight...

We have twin brothers, John Robert Velgus and Justin Velgus, graduating together with us this evening. John has earned an associate degree in Broadcast Communication Arts (with honors) and Justin has earned an associate degree in Transfer studies IGETC and a certificate of achievement in Japanese.

We also have Phuc H. Tran and his sister Trinh Tran both earning associate degrees in business transfer and certificates of achievement in Mandarin Chinese. And both are graduating with honors!

We have two sets of sisters graduating together…

Blakeley Loyola and Brittany Ally Reyes Loyola both earned an associate degree in Transfer Studies – CSU, and Donna Massey and Stella Mei Massey also both earned associate degrees in Transfer Studies – CSU. Stella is one of tonight’s honors graduates.

We have one very special mother and daughter graduation this evening…

Samantha Berry has earned an associate degree in transfer studies – CSU. Her mother Lori Berry is also graduating this evening from our sister college, Contra Costa College. So that neither of them will miss each other’s graduation, they are both walking together this evening here at DVC. Congratulations to you both!

It's always a special pleasure when we have the opportunity to confer a degree on a member of the DVC staff, or someone in their family.

Dawn Trujillo, who has earned an associate degree in Transfer Studies - IGETC, is a general office clerk in the Assessment Center.

Kirsten Bailey Phillips, who earned an associate degree in Library Technology and a certificate of achievement in Library and Information Technology, is the daughter of Melody Phillips, senior administrative assistant at the San Ramon Valley Center.

Mathias Lee Ritter-Armstrong, who has earned his associate degree in Transfer Studies -CSU is the son of Terry Armstrong, dean of counseling and student support services. Mathias is graduating with Honors and is a permanent member of Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society. He is also president and founding member of the DVC Viking Lacrosse team. Mathias is transferring to San Jose State University, majoring in Justice Studies, and will continue to play lacrosse for SJSU.

Four of our graduates earned a 4.0 GPA this year. This means "A's" in all college work. I would like to recognize each of them by name:

Sugar Ann Goens-Baranco

Sung Ja Kim

Ayako Sakata

Nathan Peter Young

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