Our Favorite Day!

By Dr. Ross Tomlin, TBCC President
Graduation 2018

If you ask almost any of us working at Tillamook Bay Community College, we will tell you our favorite day of the year is graduation.  Graduation day is a time to celebrate with all the students that have accomplished a huge milestone in their lives—completing a degree, certificate or GED.  Graduation day is an opportunity to recognize all the hard work it has taken to reach this amazing achievement.  Many of our students faced enormous obstacles in getting through TBCC and graduating, yet all 55 of these current degree and certificate graduates and 23 GED completers have all done it! Many achieved their educational goals while working, taking care of children, struggling with financial burdens, and in many cases taking care of a parent.  Our students are extraordinary and each one deserves the special recognition they received as they walked across the stage on Graduation Day, June 15.

TBCC had a record number of graduates this year. There were 55 graduates for 2018 with 46 of those earning more than one degree! That is the most graduates in recent history. Twenty-two percent of our graduates earned a degree or certificate in a career technical program giving them the skills to transition directly into the workforce. Fifteen percent of the graduates are over the age of 40; the youngest graduate was 19 and the oldest 54 years old.  Sixty-nine percent of the graduates were women.

There are some special categories of graduates to be recognized. Many of you may be familiar with the Oregon Promise program. It was first funded by the Oregon State Legislature in 2016 and provides tuition coverage for up to twelve credits per term for recent High School graduates to attend an Oregon Community College.  We are finishing the second year of this program and are seeing the first community college graduates that received this funding. TBCC had four Oregon Promise graduates this year.

Many may also be aware of the TBCC First Class Scholar Program. TBCC covers all tuition costs for up to two years for recent high school students who qualify for the program, giving them the opportunity to get a great start on their higher education goals and a smooth transition to larger universities if they choose a transfer path. This year we have eight graduates that are First Class Scholar recipients.

We have 26 students graduating with honors (GPA 3.5 and above), 18 graduates who are members of the community college honor society Phi Theta Kappa, and 21 graduates who took advantage of free dual credit college classes while they were attending high school in Tillamook County.

Those of us at TBCC strongly believe in the power and value of education.  Nationally, the median earnings of full-time employees that earned an Associate degree is $6,000 per year more than earned with just a high school diploma.  That goes up to $24,000 more per year with a Bachelor’s degree. Over a 30-year career, that is $180,000 more income earned for someone with an Associate degree and over $720,000 more with a Bachelor’s degree. Focusing just on Tillamook County, for every $1 spent by TBCC students, they gained back $2.20 in lifetime earnings—more than double the return on their investment! Education truly does pays off.  TBCC is honored to contribute to the success of Tillamook County and help so many individuals and families increase their potential by obtaining a higher education.

All of us here at TBCC are very proud of our graduates.  Our faculty and staff are truly passionate about helping our students succeed and wish the new graduates the very best as they take the next step along their life path.  June 15 was a great day for TBCC!