As promised in my article last month, I want to share with you details of our graduating class of 2020! We are very proud of our graduates every year, but as I have told many of this year’s graduates, this class will have quite a distinguishing characteristic of being termed the “Pandemic Class.” I hope they will be the only one to ever have that unique name. We unfortunately had to cancel our traditional commencement ceremony. However, I was able to visit almost half of our 2020 graduates at their homes last month and celebrate their special achievement. It was a special experience for me, and the graduates seemed to appreciate and enjoy it as well. In our normal graduation ceremonies, we have each graduate write a personal note about what they plan to do after graduation, which is read out loud as they cross the stage. This is a special part of graduation that is unique to TBCC. The experience of visiting graduates at their home was even more special in many ways since I was able to learn even more about each graduate and in many cases meet their families.
Even with all of the challenges that this spring term brought to the college and our students, we had 56 graduates earn a certificate or degree, and 17 of these were truck driving students that earned a non-credit training certificate. All but one of the truck driving graduates passed their licensing exam, and most have already secured employment driving a truck. The other 39 undergraduates actually earned a total of 89 degrees and certificates. Almost three quarters of these graduates earned a transfer degree with just over a quarter earning a career-technical certificate or degree.
Two thirds of the graduates this year are women, and 27 percent are Latinx. Interestingly, two-thirds of the graduates had taken dual credit courses while in high school, prior to enrolling as an undergraduate. Since all of the college credits earned in dual credit courses while in high school are free, it is a great incentive for those then going on for a college degree. We even had one student this year graduate from Neah-Kah-Nie High School and TBCC at the same time! That has happened only one other time at TBCC. Finally, the average age of our graduates this year is 26, with the oldest graduate being 63! It is never too late to learn and succeed in college.
We do plan to have a regular graduation ceremony as soon as it is safe to do so and allowed by the state. We hope that is before the 2021 graduation ceremony next June, but we will have to wait and see. We will try to stay in contact with all the 2020 graduates over the coming months and greatly look forward to publicly conferring their degrees upon them, even if it is the second time for many of them! Congratulations TBCC Class of 2020. You are special