AACC Celebrates 49th Commencement With Record Numbers

| June 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

Anne Arundel Community College on May 26 set four new commencement records in graduating the largest class in the college’s history, awarding the most degrees ever, awarding the most certificates ever, and in having the highest number of students participating in the ceremony.

AACC graduated 1,956 members of the Class of 2011, awarded 1,468 degrees and 620 certificates. Officials said a record 600 graduates picked up caps and gowns, indicating plans to participate in the 49th Annual Commencement on the Arnold campus. In comparison, the class of 2010 had 1,707 graduates awarded 1,336 degrees and 478 certificates, with about 570 students participating.

Nancy S. Grasmick, Ph.D., state superintendent of schools, delivered the keynote address. Grasmick is the longest-serving appointed state schools superintendent in America. The Baltimore native, who plans to retire June 30, 2011, has led the Maryland K-12 system for two decades. Grasmick made history in 1991 as Maryland’s first woman selected to serve as state superintendent of schools.

Active on area boards and commissions, Grasmick has served two decades on the Governor’s Executive Council, Maryland Education Council and executive committee of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. Other memberships include the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Board, Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, secretary-treasurer of the Maryland State Board of Education, and the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education.

Students honored for academic achievements included an estimated 164 associate degree recipients who earned summa cum laude honors with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0, 135 associate degree recipients who received magna cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.6 to 3.79 and 205 associate degree recipients who earned cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.4 to 3.59.

Valedictorian: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Huggins-Hodge

Valedictorian U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dysha Huggins-Hodge, who earned an Associate of Arts degree in Transfer Studies, achieved much of her 4.0 grade point average through online classes while deployed in Afghanistan and stationed at Fort Meade. She served as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist who traveled to posts to update personnel training and ensure stations were properly prepared in case of hazardous materials incidents.

Huggins-Hodge used Skype software to take exams and complete class assignments when off duty. She attributes her good grades to the discipline and maturity she learned in the Army. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in social work and specialize in helping teens ages 18 and under.

Presidential Scholar, Student Marshals

Selected as the 2011 Presidential Scholar is William Christian Capuozzo of Glen Burnie, who earned an Associate of Science degree in the Engineering Transfer program. The recipient of this honor is a graduate with a 4.0 GPA who has completed the program of study within two years.

Leading the graduates as student marshals (all earning 4.0 GPAs) were:

* David Brian Craig of Linthicum, Associate of Applied Science degree, Medical Laboratory Technician;

* Ami Elisabet Dorn of Linthicum, Associate of Applied Science degree, Medical Assisting;

* Linda Howard Garrett of Severn, Associate of Applied Science degree, Hotel, Restaurant Management Culinary Arts Operations Option and an Associate of Arts degree, Theater Arts Option;

* Susan A. Koller of Millersville, Associate of Science degree, Nursing;

* Rachel M. Man of Pasadena, Associate of Arts degree, Transfer Studies;

* Barry Patrick McMenamin of Severna Park, Associate of Science degree, Engineering Transfer;

* Cheryl Lauren Schmidt of Linthicum, Associate of Science degree, Arts and Sciences Science and Premedical Professional Options, Nursing Option (prebaccalaureate nursing);

* Paula Berman Shantzis of Arnold, Associate of Applied Science degree, Architecture and Interior Design, Interior Design Option.

The valedictorian, presidential scholar and student marshals are selected through interviews with students who earned a 4.0 GPA and took at least 50 credits at AACC. Not every qualified student chose to compete for these honors.

Faculty Marshals

Leading the faculty as grand marshal was Elizabeth A. Kessel, Ph.D., of Arnold, who has taught American history at AACC since 1988 and is retiring this year. She directed the college Center for the Study of Local Issues from 1989-1993, chaired a Middle States re-accreditation self-study group on planning and is the Academic Council representative to the Strategic Planning Council. Kessel is an active member of numerous AACC committees and national professional organizations including the Organization of American Historians and Community College Humanities Association.

The grand marshal is selected by the college president and vice presidents after unanimous nomination from the college deans. This honoree is highly esteemed by the faculty and represents a peer among peers in service to the college and the college community.

The faculty marshals selected to lead their colleagues to the ceremony will receive teaching excellence honors at the 33rd annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence on May 29-June 1 sponsored by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. Faculty marshals were:

* Patricia A. Brady, DScPT, of Annapolis, instructional specialist, physical therapist assistant program;

* Kirsten A.L. Casey, Ph.D., of Arnold, associate professor of chemistry;

* Barbara A. D’Anna, D.S.L., of Ellicott City, associate professor of nursing;

* Marlow A. Henderson, C.P.A., of Baltimore, associate professor of business administration;

* Jennifer V. Irwin, Ph.D., of Severn, professor of education;

* E. Joseph Lamp, Ph.D., of Arnold, professor of communications;

* Robert R. Lowe III of Gwynn Oak, assistant professor, architecture and interior design;

* Jessamy J. Rango, Ph.D., of Edgewater, associate professor of biology.

Health Professions Ceremony

In the afternoon, a record 282 students in the School of Health Professions, Wellness and Physical Education celebrated completion of their programs of study with a pinning and recognition ceremony under the tent on the Athletic Practice Field. This is the largest group of health professions graduates at AACC; the health professions class of 2010 numbered 262 and in 2009 numbered 229.

Cable Replays of Ceremony

Replays of the ceremony will air May 27-July 4, 2011 on AACC TV, which is cable TV Channel 95 on Comcast and Broadstripe and Channel 35 on Verizon for Anne Arundel County cable customers. Check www.aacc.edu/aacctv/commreplay.cfm for program listings.

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