More than 130 degrees and certificates to be conferred during SMC commencement

By Guy Harrison, Media & Marketing Specialist 

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – More than 130 degrees and certificates will be conferred students graduating on Saturday, May 18, during Central Arizona College’s Superstition Mountain Campus commencement ceremony in Apache Junction, Ariz. 

The outdoor graduation ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on The Green at the newly-expanded campus and will feature 105 degrees and 28 certificates being conferred upon students who march in the ceremony. In previous years, the ceremony was held at an off-campus, indoor location. 

The Superstition Mountain Campus is located at 805 S. Idaho Road, just north of US Route 60 in Apache Junction. 

Each student will be wearing specific medallions, stoles and cords signifying the programs with which they are affiliated. Students wearing gold medallions are graduates of the honors program, while those wearing gold stoles are members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. 

Students wearing blue cords are graduates of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program, while those wearing red cords belong to CAC’s TRIO student success program and students donning silver stoles are members of CAC’s Student Leadership Organization. 

Graduates also will wear various tassels depending on the degrees that they are receiving. Those with white tassels are receiving associate of arts degrees, while those wearing gold tassels are earning an associate of science degree. Associate of business degree recipients will sport drab tassels, associate of applied science will wear green, associate of general studies will wear gray, and those earning certificates will don blue tassels. 

Serving as the commencement speaker for the ceremony is Ken Buchanan, a 1973 graduate of CAC who currently serves as the town manager of Fountain Hills, Ariz., located in Maricopa County. 

Born and raised in Eloy, Buchanan has enjoyed a 36-year career in the public sector that includes serving as assistant county manager for Pinal County, as well as holding similar city management positions with the cities of Payson and Casa Grande. He served Casa Grande as its city manager for nine years. 

Buchanan recently accepted his position as town manager in Fountain Hills. In this role he holds some parks and recreation responsibilities while also overseeing the general administration of the town’s other municipal services. 

He recently concluded a stint as a board member of CAC’s Foundation and, as a member of the Pinal County University Foundation, he aided in the development of the Gloria R. Sheldon University Center, a facility built to provide further accessibility for advanced college degree pursuits. 

In 2012, Buchanan was inducted into the CAC Wall of Success. 

Upon receiving his associate degree from CAC, Buchanan moved on to Arizona State University where he earned both a bachelor’s degree in community recreation management and a master’s of public administration degree. In 2000, Buchanan completed Harvard University’s JFK School of Government Senior Executive Program.

Buchanan is married to his wife Debbie, a CAC graduate. They two have two grown sons, Ryan and Kyle, who graduated from CAC.
Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814