Commencement: many reasons for hope

William Dudley

School officials say that graduation ceremonies will be conducted in the Main Quad or on the second level of the parking structure, depending on whether it rains on June 1st.

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–The 50th Annual Commencement Ceremony is scheduled to take place on June 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Quad, unless it is raining, in which case the ceremony will be held on the middle level of Grossmont’s parking structure.

Let’s hope for sunny weather.

About 4,000 people are expected to attend the festivities, which will honor all Grossmont students who have met the requirements for an Associate’s Degree and/or Certificate of Achievement (Grossmont estimates that number to be 1500).

Students had until March 18 to apply at the Admissions and Records (A&R) Office to ascertain whether their academic record qualified them for a degree of certificate. There was an appeal process available for students who did not meet the deadline.

Students are being encouraged by Grossmont’s Student Affairs Office to invite family members and friends to attend the festivities. and to get their “caps, gowns, tassels, personalized invitations and commencement merchandise” at the campus bookstore.

Let’s hope that the commencement merchandise isn’t too expensive.

The keynote speaker will be Christina Csanadi Deckard, who attended Grossmont College in 1979 and 1980 after graduating from Granite Hills High School in 1978. After being rebuffed from four-year universities from enrolling in physics classes, she became the only female physics student at Grossmont.

She went on to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees at San Diego State University. She taught math and science at Grossmont from 1989 to 1998.

Deckard is currently an internationally-recognized laser expert and a senior scientist at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego.  Speaking for the students will be Timothy Snowball, who will receive associate degrees in Political Science and University Studies.

Mental health issues prevented Snowball from graduating high school, but in 2008 at age 25 he applied to Grossmont and took a political science class. “Before Grossmont, I did not even know that Political Science was a college major,” he said.

“I quickly discovered that not only was I capable of being a student, I was actually quite good at it. My entire perception of school was changed forever.”  Snowball’s GPA earned him spots on both the President’s and Vice President’s Lists and a membership in Phi Theta Kappa, an academic honors society.

Let’s hope the speeches are inspirational.

There will also be five other special alumni guests – one representing each of Grossmont’s first five decades.  Grossmont president Sunita Cooke has announced that the “wall of honor” will be back by popular demand. In this ceremony, “faculty and administrators line the walkway as graduates exit toward an ASGC-sponsored reception area near the Health and Science complex.”  There will be photo opportunities there as well.

Let’s hope to see you there.