Central Arizona College Recognizes Graduates
By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing
Central Arizona College recognized the accomplishments of its graduates during a district commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13 at CAC’s Signal Peak Campus.
After a welcome and introductions conducted by Jenni Cardenas, Interim Vice President of College Affairs, the graduates were addressed by Rona Curphy, President and CEO of Banner Casa Grande Medical Center.
Curphy congratulated graduates and explained their role as they enter the workforce as members of the Millennial Generation. “As you enter the workforce or a higher educational journey you can make a difference; and by understanding who you are and understanding those around you it will help you to be more successful personally and professionally.”
Following Curphy’s speech, the student speakers nominated and selected by the college community addressed their peers.
Alejandra Cano attended classes at the Superstition Mountain Campus. She served as the Phi Theta Kappa District President and served as the Correspondence Coordinator for CAC’s Student Leadership program. She graduated with Honors and was a Who’s Who Award recipient. Her goal is to continue her education in the medical field to become a nurse or doctor where she can give back to her community.
With a minimal K-12 educational experience and the worry of being an adult and paying her own way, attending college was a foreign concept for Cano. So much so, that she didn’t let her family know until the end of her first semester at CAC. She stated, “I learned the present and the future can’t change the past.” She credits the support of professors, advisors and peers, along with her involvement in Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors program for helping her to gain confidence and succeed. To her fellow graduates, she advised, “All we have to do is keep moving forward, be humble, be honest, be thankful and most importantly be persistent in reaching for goals.”
Audri Bimbi from the Signal Peak Campus served as a Learning Center tutor, Residence Hall advisor, and writer for the Cactus Newspaper. She also participated in student advising, the Commit to Complete project, volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club and completed a walk for Autism research. She also won the All-Arizona Academic Team Scholarship and graduated with Honors.
At a young age, Bimbi found herself doubting that she would be an accomplished, independent woman whose life would inspire others. Her inspiration was renewed by her mother who became the first woman in her family to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing while living in the United Kingdom. She realized, “every choice made in the present will affect the future.” In December of 2011, she moved from Zimbabwe to join her mother in the United Kingdom. By May of 2012, they moved to Arizona and Bimbi began her education at CAC a few months later. She explained how being an Honors student opened doors for her that she had only “dreamed of walking through.” She provided the following advice to her peers, “Regardless of where we go from here I hope that you reach your goals. However, do not forget to live in the present because that is where your inspiration to and from others will be.”
The College recognized those faculty who were nominated and chosen by students for their representation of the very best in academic stewardship and commitment to academic excellence. Faculty of the Year awards were presented to: Thomas Bell – Aravaipa Campus; Heather Moulton – Maricopa Campus; Steve Puklin – San Tan Campus; Diane Beecroft – Signal Peak Campus; and Stacie Khyn – Superstition Mountain Campus. Additionally, Ming Li and Vaun Day, both from the Signal Peak Campus were recognized with the George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Faculty Senate President Dr. Ruth Butler, presented the candidates to the CAC Governing Board, which conferred the degrees and certificates. The graduating students were congratulated as they crossed the stage by the four members of the CAC Governing Board as well as Acting President Dr. James Moore.
An official list of CAC graduates will be released and published once the degrees and certificates have been confirmed. Preliminary statistics show 756 total graduates for the academic year, receiving a total of 1,169 degrees and certificates. Of the graduating class, 282 are male and 471 are female. The youngest CAC graduate is 16 and the oldest is 72. The total number of degrees and certificates awarded by Central Arizona College in its 46 years is 31,370 given to 22,409 individuals.
A video of the graduation ceremony may be viewed here: https://centralaz.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=a719b82f-b592-40bc-a40b-6b2e47a15040