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LTCC Class of ’97 largest ever

Cory Fisher

College President Guy Lease probably said it best.

“We’ve come a long way from a motel on Highway 50 with an enrollment of only 500 students. But we measure our greatest achievements in the successes of our students – tonight is a tribute to those successes.”

At the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Amphitheater Friday, Lake Tahoe Community College’s 22nd Annual Commencement won the distinction of graduating the most students -102- in the college’s history. In addition, eight students earned certificates of achievement.

The event brought several hundred friends and family members out into the picturesque arena shortly before sunset.

“The best way to achieve your dreams, wishes and desires is through education,” said student speaker William Bartelson. “This college and community has become an extended family to me.”

Bartelson pointed out the value of the community college’s small classes, computer access and faculty support – features considered rare at four-year institutions.

“Today we’re one step closer to the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel,” said Bartelson to his fellow graduates. “Keep on dreaming.”

Board of Trustees President Kerry David stressed the importance of passing knowledge gained through education. “It’s up to you to make a difference,” he said.

Honored commencement speaker was Dr. Philip del Campo, the current Peace Officers Standards and Training commissioner for the state of California and former president of Continuing Education Centers for the San Diego Community College District.

“I decided the title of my speech would be ‘Now What?'” said del Campo. “You students provided the sweat – was it worth it? You tell us.”

He then invited administrators, faculty and the board of trustees to stand and applaud the college’s newest graduates.

The California community college system is one of the largest post-secondary education programs in the world, he noted, with students averaging 28 years in age.

“Most of you are not young,” he said. “You’re here because you know what you want.”

After the awarding of diplomas, Bartelson led his classmates in the ceremonial “Turning of the Tassel,” followed by the presentation of 1997’s class by Vice President of Academic Affairs Wait Griswold.

Of the college’s 102 graduates, 39 were men and 63 were women, said Lease. Seventy-eight plan to attend four-year institutions in the fall.


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