Glendale Community College celebrated the more than 1,140 students who earned associate of arts or science degrees or certificates across more than 40 disciplines Wednesday evening during a ceremony on Sartoris Field.
"Our youngest graduate this year is 19 and our most senior graduate is 74 years of age," said Supt./President David Viar. "So when I speak to you ... about lifelong learning, it really is lifelong learning in your community college. As an Army veteran myself, I am proud to note that 17 of our graduates are military veterans."
Before the ceremony began, graduate Jonathan Martin Santiago said he plans to continue his studies in communication at Cal State Los Angeles. He said he was grateful for the support he received from staff at the Glendale campus.
"My experience here has been very supportive, reassuring," Santiago said. "They're not willing to give up on you as much as you're willing to give up on yourself."
Fellow student Sevan Mardirossian summed up his two years at the college as "hard — especially when you're getting a degree in math … it's insane."
Mardirossian said he plans to study computer science at Cal Poly Pomona.
Fellow graduate Argin Sarkisian didn't expect to show up to his ceremony hobbling on crutches, but he sustained ligament damage in his right ankle two days prior while playing basketball.
He studied business at the college and will transfer to UC Riverside in September. As a freshman, he wasn't aware the college held a commencement ceremony.
"Being part of it is pretty cool," Sarkisian said.
Anuninderjeet Kaur Virk was asked to give the commencement speech on behalf of students.
"All of us have gone through a moment in our lives that's brought us down. But we've survived through our worst day, and if we can survive through our worst day, we can survive any setback or any challenge to our goal," she said during her remarks.
Viar said the graduates have enriched the lives of staff at the college, and he hoped staff have helped transform students' lives.
"Tonight, as you reflect on what your degree means, and your experiences here at Glendale Community College, and as you go on to further education into the world of work or supporting your family, keep community college in mind and advocate on his behalf as an example of what we can do when we have a dream — an imaginative view of what might be — and when we work together … toward a common goal, working together with civility, tolerance and respect."