West Hills College Coalinga serves up diplomas for over 240 students

From West Hills College
Recently retired Trustee Edna Ivans
Recently retired Trustee Edna Ivans

West Hills College Coalinga’s graduation ceremony on Friday proved to be a night for reflecting on the school’s past and for celebrating a bright future.

 Hundreds of family, friends and community members gathered in the WHCC gymnasium on May 22 for the ceremony, which featured over 240 participating students. 

 There were several speakers, including Edna Ivans, who served for 48 years on the West Hills Community College board of trustees prior to her recent retirement. She encouraged the graduating class to volunteer and engage in community service. 

"I have served my community but I've received more than what I myself have given," she said. "And so will you. You can make the world a better place." 

 WHCC Alumnus of the Year Ray Hodges, an Avenal educator and graduate of the class of 1956, was recognized during the ceremony. Ashlee Rocha, this year’s WHCC Associated Student Body President, served as the student speaker.

 The ceremony also marked a high point in the number of degrees and certificates awarded.

 Approximately 263 certificates of achievement and 400 Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees were awarded to this year’s graduating class. Several students received multiple degrees or certificates.   

 “This is an all-time record for West Hills College Coalinga,” said WHCC President Carole Goldsmith​ during her speech opening the commencement. “The numbers speak for themselves. The numbers reflect your dedication to your goals, your commitment to complete and our commitment to you.”

 Goldsmith attributed the increase in part to the Commitment to Complete Initiative, a new strategy which began in 2013 to focus on helping students complete their first two years and earn their degrees or move on to a college or university. 

 It’s just one of a number of progressive strategies adopted by the college, including the innovative Reg365 program that helps speed students toward their completion and transfer goals.

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