By Dr. Ross Tomlin, TBCC President—The middle of June is always a very special time at TBCC. It is our annual graduation ceremony and this year it was held on Friday, June 16 at 5:30 pm in the TBCC parking lot. It was the third graduation in a row that we have had outside on campus and the weather has cooperated for us every time! We had a large crowd of family and friends of the graduates join us for the ceremony.
This year’s graduating class included 72 credit and non-credit students who earned an impressive 100 degrees and certificates. Of those graduates, 9 earned an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree; 20 earned an Associate of Science (AS) degree; 25 earned a General Studies degree; 4 earned an Associate of Applied Science degree; and 15 earned various certificates in Career-Technical Education programs.
We also had 8 GED completers and 27 CDL non-credit training certificates (our truck driving program). We were honored to have some of our CDL students walk in graduation this year. Our truck driving program has provided well over 100 TBCC students the opportunity to obtain high-paying positions after just four weeks of training.
Twenty-four of our graduates earned college credit in high school through Dual Credit courses – and two of our graduates earned their transfer degree at TBCC at the same time they graduated from high school- one from Neah-Kah-Nie and one from Nestucca Valley. In the last forty years, only four other students have ever been able to accomplish this impressive feat – thanks in part to Dual Credit classes. This year we awarded over 4,000 college credits to high school students in the form of Dual Credit, saving those families a total of over $509,000 in tuition and fees!
This year, we had three student speakers who shared the special stories that brought them to TBCC and helped them reach this level of accomplishment. Our first student speaker was Aiden Sifford, one of the special students who graduated from Nestucca Valley HS while he finished his AS degree at TBCC. He was also the winner of our All Oregon Academic Team Scholar program for this year and is headed back east next fall to attend an Ivy League University!
Our second student speaker was Angelica Godinez Garcia who completed three degrees while at TBCC and graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a Career to Career Scholar recipient. Our third student speaker was Kimbaly McFalls who graduated from our CDL Truck Driving Program and is now working at Zwald Trucking.
TBCC is very proud to be an integral part of Tillamook County communities, and we take very seriously our role in providing excellent higher education opportunities to all county citizens. Community colleges are uniquely American, and we all have open enrollment where anyone who has completed a GED or High School diploma can enter and be successful in earning a college degree. It is a great start at higher education and hopefully part of a lifetime of learning for all our students. So congratulations again to all of the 2023 TBCC Graduates!