Western Nevada College used its commencement ceremony as a climatic way to demonstrate what the school is all about.
During its 45th commencement ceremony Monday, at the Marv Teixeira Pavilion in Mills Park, WNC graduated its largest class ever, with a graduating class of 556.
The class represented the diversity of WNC’s mission to serve non-traditional students as well as those who are considered typical college students. The graduates received a total of 598 degrees, including associate degrees, certificates and bachelor’s degrees.
The graduates ranged in ages from 17 to 68 and included veterans and WNC’s first Jump Start class of graduates. WNC began the Jump Start program in which high school students in Northern Nevada could earn college credit at the school and 27 students in the program received their associate degrees along with their high school diplomas.
About 150 students in the class also graduated with honors. They included Summa Cum Laude graduates, who maintained a 3.90 grade point average or above while completing 45 units; Magna Cum Laude graduates who had a G.P.A. between 3.75 and 3.89 while completing 45 units; Cum Laude graduates who maintained a G.P.A. between 3.60 and 3.74 while completing 45 units; and members of Phi Theta Kappa.
Student body president for 2015-2016 Andrea Senda, a Magna Cum Laude graduate and Phi Theta Kappa member herself, spoke about the diversity of the graduating class, speaking about students who represented that diversity.
“WNC has a special place in my heart,” she said.
She also talked about taking advantage of the moment and maintaining relationships.
“Celebrate now and celebrate the people around us,” she said.
Commencement speaker Robert Crowell may have signaled a warning to the class when he quoted Mark Twain, saying “education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”
Crowell said today’s society obviously is full of uncertainty.
“Probably not the uncertainty Mark Twain envisioned, but uncertainty nonetheless,” he said. “Change is a fact of life today.”
But Crowell then provided the class a more optimistic tone.
“I have no doubt you’re up to the challenge,” said Crowell about the class facing uncertainty. “This is a great time to live in America and Northern Nevada.”
Crowell also talked about how the diverse economy was affecting Northern Nevada.
“The world is getting smaller, but the opportunities are magnified for those who want to take a risk,” Crowell said.
He said WNC has given its graduates the tools to be successful.
“You have been given the tools to take that kind of risk,” Crowell said. “I know you will use those tools wisely.”
He also said while Northern Nevada is paving its way for the future with economic development, it can’t forget about its past, saying to “not forget our heritage in Nevada.”