Graduation day for TBCC students was Friday, June 14. We had 63 graduates, 39 that walked at the ceremony, two of which were GED recipients. That was a record number of graduates for TBCC, surpassing the 55 from last year. The faculty and staff at the college tend to celebrate as much as the graduates that day. We know our students pretty well and are very excited to see them reach this important milestone.
I would like to share some insights into the graduating class of 2019 at TBCC. We conferred 127 degrees and certificates with 41 graduates earning multiple degrees/certificates. Nineteen percent of our graduates earned a Career-Technical degree or certificate and 81% of our graduates earned a Transfer degree. Our youngest graduate is 19 years old and our oldest is 61, with 69% being 30 years old or younger, and 31% are over the age of 30. Overall, 63% of our graduates this year are women!
We had 14 graduates that had previously taken college dual credit courses while in high school. That program is growing in Tillamook County at all three high schools. This year alone, TBCC awarded 2,346 credits to 300 dual credit high school students, saving those families a total of over $260,000 in tuition and fees.
We recognized the three students that were selected to be on All Oregon Academic Team. These are students selected from each of the 17 community colleges in Oregon who exhibit scholastic and community excellence and leadership. These students were honored with a luncheon and photo with the Governor back in April, and each received a certificate and scholarship. Our All-Star scholars for this year are: Kimberly Hamann, Joseph Boyd & Angelica Ortiz Rios.
Our guest graduation speaker this year was Rob Saxton, the retiring superintendent of the Northwest Region Education Service District, which serves Tillamook County. In addition, we had two student speakers for the first time. Melissa Mumey is one of our first Career to Career Scholarship graduates and gave an inspiring speech telling her story about coming back to college after so many years. The Career to Career Scholarship has been in place at TBCC now for two years. It provides free tuition for a degree or certificate to those people in the county that have been out of school for at least five years. The eight Career to Career Scholarship graduates have earned a combined GPA of 3.65 over the past two years. We call them our rock stars.
Our other student speaker for this year was Jeannie Christensen. She works for TCCA Farm Store as their Asst. Manager and just earned her Associate of General Studies degree. She gave a wonderful speech that was very well received by the packed room.
We also had 11 graduates that earned highest honors (Summa Cum Laude), with 22 graduates earning an honors chord overall. It was a wonderful night as usual, being my favorite day of the year working at a community college. All of us at the college are very proud of all our graduates and wish them the very best as they move on to the next life challenge. Congratulations to all our new TBCC Alumni!
By Dr. Ross Tomlin is the president of Tillamook Bay Community College