Butte College 41st Commencement
(Oroville, CA)- The 41st Butte College Commencement Ceremony was held on Friday, May 28 on the football field of the John Cowan Sports Complex on the main campus, 3536 Butte Campus Drive at 7:30 p.m.
A total of 602 students received their Associate of Arts degrees and 467 students received their Associate of Sciences degrees in a ceremony presided over by Butte College President Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg and attended by hundreds of faculty, staff, family and friends.
Among the 1,069 graduating students – the oldest of whom is 73 and the youngest of whom is 17 - are those from 19 different states and five different countries including Canada, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
“Butte College offers something for everyone at any age, including graduates from other states, countries and diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. This is a wonderful class of graduates, and as they continue to follow their career paths or educational goals, I encourage them to follow their dreams and be passionate in whatever they choose to do,” said Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College President.
This year’s guest speaker, Kylie Sisneros, was chosen from among the ranks of graduates to represent her class during commencement. Sisneros inspiring story is one of many false starts, hard failures and ultimately, glorious success. A single mother of one, Sisneros returned to Butte College in 2008 when her son, Jordan, was six-weeks old, committed to completing her degree no matter what it took.
“People have asked me recently what made this difference in my failure of the past and my success now. The difference was I was not doing it for me; I was doing it for Jordan. I was a single parent and I wanted to provide a life for my son which I could not afford on AFDC. My CalWorks workers tell me they have never had someone go through the program to get off aid so fast. I am proud of myself. It has been a long road, but I am finally where I wanted to get. Now that I will receive my AS in Accounting, I am going to earn my AA in Business Administration, and prepare to transfer to Sacramento State,” said Sisneros.
Also chosen from among the graduates to participate in the 2010 commencement was Ruby Hafer-Royal who sang the National Anthem. Chosen out of many who auditioned, the Phi Theta Kappa honor society member earned her Butte College degrees in University Studies and Social and Behavioral Science.
“Each and every professor at Butte College taught me something new about myself and the world we live in. Even though I did not agree with all of things they attempted to lay at my feet, the things that they showed me have helped prepare me for the ‘real world’ and I am proud to be singing the National Anthem at my graduation,” said Hafer-Royal.
An informal reception followed the commencement ceremony in the gymnasium quad. The event was wheelchair accessible. Any graduate or guest requiring a specific accommodation or adjustment, including interpreting services or an assistive listening device needed to contact Annette Guffy, in the Vice President for Student Services Office at 530-895-2239 [voice] or 530-879-6118 [TTD].
Graduates of Note:
The oldest graduate in 2010 class is Donald M. Wolheim, 73, earned his AA degree in Social and Behavioral Science.
The youngest graduate in this year’s class is Tommiko Hansen, 17, earned three associate degrees in Social and Behavioral Science, Language Arts and University Studies.
The second youngest graduate this year is Kathryn Lynn Reich, 18, a member of the college’s honor society Phi Theta Kappa, who received her Honors Degree in University Studies. Following her graduation from Butte College on May 28, Reich will graduate high school on June 15 from the Butte County Office of Education’s Hearthstone School in Oroville.
For some, college had been a family affair - siblings Dominique Silva and Tyre Haynie were set to graduate together as well as husband and wife Martin and Melissa Cloyd and brothers-in law Cheng Vang and Yia Yang.