BALTIMORE (Saturday, June 4, 2016)--Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) is proud to announce its graduating Class of 2016; today's graduates exemplify the College's mission to deliver affordable education that promotes academic excellence, while changing lives and building communities. Many BCCC graduates will walk across the stage today after battling poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and other obstacles.
BCCC's unique student population and the residents of the communities it serves are in critical need of the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive 21st century job market. The goal, in most cases, is to escape poverty and create a better life for themselves and their families. For example, after 54-year-old Hannah Belcher entered into a custody battle over her 3-year-old grandson, her employer went out of business, her husband also lost his job, and her youngest son was incarcerated. That's when she decided to enroll at BCCC. With a cumulative grade point average of 3.8, she will earn an Associate Degree in Allied Human Services and transfer to a four-year institution in the fall.
"Many of our students come from low-income households and have to juggle multiple responsibilities
--like raising children and working full-time jobs
--while pursuing higher education," said BCCC President/CEO Dr. Gordon F. May. "Those who will graduate today have used their personal hardships not as excuses or crutches; they came to BCCC determined and motivated to defy the odds."
Joseph Ariel Brookman, 20, became the man of the house early in life
--securing part-time jobs and helping to care for his young sister
--after his father passed. Throughout the years, the family experienced financial hardships and struggled to make ends meet. In 2014, he enrolled at BCCC with a Granville T. Woods scholarship. Last year, he represented the College during a Study Abroad experience in Costa Rica where he earned eight Spanish-language credits. Brookman will graduate with honors, receive an Associate Degree in Business Administration, and transfer to the University of Maryland College Park with a full academic scholarship.
Runae Freeman, 53, had to drop out of high school at age 16 to raise her five kids. The Chicago native enrolled in the BCCC GED test preparation program and completed it in 2012. Today, Freeman will earn an Associate Degree in Allied Human Services.
"If you see a woman doing cartwheels at graduation, that will be me," Freeman joked. "This has been a journey, a very long, arduous journey. But the benefits of finishing are enormous and I finished."
Veronica Jones had a baby boy in the 10th grade. In 2014, Jones enrolled as a full-time student at BCCC. Today she will earn an Associate Degree in General Studies and a certificate in Early Childhood Education.
"We are extremely proud of the Class of 2016," said BCCC President/CEO Dr. Gordon F. May. "Today, we look forward to celebrating all of their accomplishments."
Today at 10 a.m., 515 associate degrees and certificates will be conferred in various disciplines, including Biotechnology, Electrical Engineering, Fashion Design, General Studies, Nursing, Robotics, and more. The BCCC 2016 Commencement Ceremony will be held at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric. Students, family, faculty, alumni, and friends can follow BCCC's 2016 Commencement activities and share success stories or memories, pictures, and words of wisdom on Facebook or Twitter @bmoreccc using hashtag #BCCC2016Grads.
About Baltimore City Community College
Founded in 1947, Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) is a comprehensive, urban institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The College's campus is located in West Baltimore; the institution also has several satellite locations throughout the city. With its broad range of degree and certificate programs, affordable tuition, and extensive outreach, BCCC offers educational opportunities to the citizens of Baltimore City and throughout the state of Maryland. BCCC serves more than 16,000* students annually, providing credits that transfer to four-year colleges and universities as well as workforce training leading directly to job placement. The College is proud of the fact that 100** nations are represented within the student body. * Based on annual unduplicated credit and non-credit headcount for FY 2015. **Based on fall 2014 credit enrollment.