By Dr. Ross Tomlin, TBCC President
I know for so many of us here on the coast, we eagerly anticipate the first day of summer and the influx of warmer weather. While I agree the sunshine has been a nice change of pace, the day that I eagerly anticipate all year long is graduation.
Earlier this month, I had the honor of hosting another graduation ceremony, this time for the 2022 graduating class. We were all thrilled to have a more “normal” graduation where the community was able to join us in person and sit in the audience to watch their graduates celebrate this monumental milestone.
Of course, the pandemic taught us some valuable things and one of them was how meaningful an on-campus graduation ceremony can be. So this year we opted once again to host graduation in the parking lot of our main campus building on Third Street and brought in over 400 chairs for people to join us. We also live streamed the event to social media for anyone who wanted to attend that way.
Hours before the ceremony started, people started streaming in carrying flowers, balloons, and signs. We actually ran out of chairs for everyone as they continued to fill our parking lot. It was incredible to watch. And best of all: It didn’t rain!
This year’s graduating class included 89 credit and non-credit students who earned an impressive 144 degrees and certificates. This broke our previous record of 72 graduates in 2020.
Of those graduates, 19 earned an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree; 30 earned an Associate of Science Degree; 34 earned a General Studies Degree; 13 earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree; and 11 earned various certificates in Career and Technical Education programs.
We also had 9 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, and hope many more will join us in the future.
Twenty-two of our graduates had earned college credit in high school through dual credit courses – and one of our graduates earned their transfer degree at TBCC at the same time they graduated from Neah Kah Nie High School. 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 $514K in tuition and fees!
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 is part of a lifetime of learning for all our students.
I want to extend a personal thank you to our student speaker, Jeph Troyer, who is now a nursing student at Oregon Coast Community College, and our commencement speaker, Eric Swanson, President of Adventist Health Tillamook, who shared about his love for TBCC, which is where he got his start as an EMT. They both did outstanding.
If you missed the ceremony, you can still watch a recording of it on our Facebook page. If you know someone who graduated, be sure to congratulate them. All of us at the College wish them the very best as they move on to the next stage of their lives!