The 42nd Butte College Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 27 on the football field of the John Cowan Sports Complex on the main campus, 3536 Butte Campus Drive at 7:30 p.m.
The College will confer 1,112 degrees with 619 Associate of Arts degrees and 493 Associate of Sciences degrees in a ceremony presided over by retiring Butte College President Dr. Diana Van Der Ploeg along with hundreds of faculty, staff, family and friends. The vocalist will be Camille Ann Sharp who is earning a degree in University Studies, Social and Behavioral Science and is a member of the college’s international honor society.
Keeping your dream alive, getting an education and helping other people are the topics of Butte College’s 2011 commencement speaker and graduate Emerald Pendukeni Shilengudwa. They are also the philosophies the 24-year-old Windhoek, Namibia native lives by.
“I wanted to come to the states to get an education. My friends and family said it was impossible because we did not have the resources. But it was my dream so I took a year and worked and saved and in 2008, I came to study in the United States,” said Shilengudwa, who earned her degree and will attend UC Davis in the fall.
Knowing that she wanted to attend school in California, Shilengudwa went to the American Consulate to get a list of community colleges. She then began writing letters to get admissions information. Butte College, she said, was the only school that replied to her request.
“Butte College changed everything for me. It was truly amazing. I wanted an education very much but I never knew school could be so fun. The faculty and staff at Butte College care and give a lot of support,” she said.
Living in a country that had been controlled by colonial apartheid for 100 years was a challenge even after the Republic of Namibia declared its independence from the South African administration in 1990. Segregation in housing and education were still prevalent when Shilengudwa was growing up.
While her parents were allowed to move the family out of the “blacks only” area and into the main city, Shilengudwa was one of just five black children attending the local school.
In addition to racism, Shilengudwa has felt first-hand the effects war and a corrupt government has on people. Namibia, and Windhoek in particular, has been flooded with refugees fleeing from wars in neighboring nations. These experiences have led her to what she calls her life’s commitment to return to the war torn countries in Africa as a United Nations Diplomat.
“I believe it is hard for a people who have lived under colonialism for so long to govern their people. The power of freedom and control of resources is not easy. I want to work to rewrite policies and negotiate peace, to make life better for people,” she said.
Shilengudwa will begin her work this summer as a United Nations intern doing fieldwork in the Congo. When she returns she will begin working toward her bachelor’s degree in international relations with a minor in French at UC Davis. She also plans to continue on to graduate school to get a degree in peace and conflict studies.
“America and Butte College burst open a lot of new dreams within me, dreams I can achieve and that’s what I tell others. One of the biggest things you can do is to get your education and help other people,” she said.
Butte College will graduate its Licensed Vocational Nurses in a traditional “Pinning Ceremony” on Thursday, May 26 at 1 p.m. at the College's Campus Center, 3536 Butte Campus Drive. A total of 15 LVN’s will be pinned.
Graduation speakers will be Nelissa Goedhart and Irene Singh-Gilmer. Three students will be receiving awards: Katriena VanDeVelde will receive the Clinical Excellence Award, Brandy Galloway will receive the Academic Excellence Award, and Janice Garino will receive the Nursing Excellence Award.
The 55th Butte College Firefighter 1 Academy class will graduate at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 26 in a special commencement ceremony at Paradise Alliance Church, 6491 Clark Road.
As Firefighter 1 Academy graduates, the cadets are academically qualified for state certification as a Firefighter I, as well as certifications for CDF Basic Firefighter, HazMat FRO, Low Angle Rescue, Swift Water Rescue Awareness, Confined Space Rescue Awareness, Vehicle Extrication - Basic Techniques, Fire Control 3, Rapid Intervention Crew Tactics, and Terrorism Consequence Management, among others.
The ceremony will also include the presentation of Most Inspirational, Most Outstanding, Top Athlete, Top Academic, Top EMT and three Battalion Chief awards as well as three scholarships including the Bryan K. Zollner Memorial Scholarship, Justin May Memorial Scholarship, and the Jason Watson Memorial Scholarship.Butte College Registered Nursing Graduation, Thursday, May 26 at 5 p.m.
The Butte College Registered Nursing graduation will take place on Thursday, May 26 at 5 p.m. at the Neighborhood Church, 2801 Notre Dame Blvd, Chico. Jake Lashbrook will serve as the Class Speaker and there will be a total of 59 graduates.
Butte College's Respiratory Therapy Program is set for its graduation on Friday, May 27 at 3 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 1705 Manzanita Avenue in Chico. A total of 30 graduates will be participating and instructor Donna Davis will provide an address while Rene Garnett will be the student speaker.
The Butte College 127th Law Enforcement Academy Graduation will take place Thursday, June 9 at 4 p.m. at the Paradise Alliance Church, 6491 Clark Road.