Office of the Superintendent/President
COM Celebrates 90th Class of Graduates
Class of 2017 includes 340 students receiving 378 degrees and certificates
KENTFIELD, CA—May 26, 2017—Tonight, College of Marin (COM) will honor 340 graduates receiving a total of 378 degrees and certificates in the 90th Annual Commencement Exercises. The youngest graduate is 19 years old and the oldest graduate is 67 years old. Approximately 140 students will walk in the ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. in the Diamond Physical Education Center, Kentfield Campus.
The graduating class of 2017 marks the College’s 90th graduating class. Since its founding in 1926, the College has grown from its first class of 87 students to serving over 13,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students each year. In addition, program offerings, services, and the physical campus have expanded considerably over the past 90 years.
Placing student success at the forefront of institutional priorities, COM prepares students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities and has one of the highest transfer rates to UC Berkeley in the state. COM helps keep the local economy thriving by providing job training and skill enhancement for thousands of workers each year.
“It is a privilege to see so many students achieve their educational goals and prepare for the next phase of their lives,” says Acting Superintendent/President Jonathan Eldridge. “These graduates are well prepared to be responsible global citizens and make a real difference in their communities. On behalf of the faculty and staff, I thank these graduates for their time at College of Marin.”
Taria Gregoire will be addressing the class of 2017 as this year’s commencement speaker. A Bay Area native from Marin City, Gregoire and her older brother Quentin were raised by their single mother Dinah Miller and their grandmother, the late Dolores Woods. As soon as she was old enough to get a work permit, Gregoire began helping provide for her family.
While balancing high school and a job, she maintained excellent grades and always kept her mind set on higher education. Her hard work paid off; in her senior year she was awarded a full scholarship to study graphic design at Silicon Valley College (SVC), a vocational school in Fremont. After earning a certificate from SVC as a computer graphic specialist, she moved to Oakland and worked at a newspaper creating advertisements.
In 2002, Gregoire left Oakland and returned to Marin City. In 2004 she began taking mass communications and early childhood education classes at COM. Prior to returning to COM to pursue an associate degree in 2014, she felt like she was spending too much time working and not enough time with her young daughter. It was then that she made the decision to leave one of her jobs. As a single mom, she often struggled to balance her role as head of household without sacrificing valuable time with her child. Following that decision she was laid off from her remaining job and chose to return to college to take more control of her life and career.
That summer, Gregoire enrolled and continued her mass communications studies COM. Encouraged by professors and other support staff, she got back in touch with her creative side and added multimedia studies to her educational pursuits.
Beyond her ongoing interest in TV, radio, and other forms of communication, Gregoire has always been good with kids. In the past she has been in various roles, such as a peer mediator, where she worked with the youth in her community.
“Youth often have a very narrow view of the world and education can broaden that view,” said Gregoire. “I want to let them know there is a way to afford education and you can make time for it.”
As a COM Umoja student and a lifetime member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Gregoire believes in the importance of community in education and in life. She hopes that her words inspire graduates to constantly reach out and make those connections as they go on from the College.
“Education is crucial, but you need a foundation—a support system—within the educational system to get through. For me, it was Umoja,” said Gregoire. “It’s having that help when you feel overwhelmed or lost. I think we sometimes forget that it’s the community that helps us get through this journey.”
Gregoire has been accepted into the broadcasting and electronic communication arts (BECA) program at San Francisco State University.
About College of Marin's 90th Commencement Speaker
Social justice leader Bettie Hodges will be the honored speaker at College of Marin’s (COM) 90th Annual Commencement Ceremony. Currently the executive director of the Hannah Project in Marin City, Ms. Hodges is a local educator, activist, philanthropic professional, and community development specialist whose professional career spans more than 30 years.
In 2006, Ms. Hodges chartered The Hannah Project Partnership, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides academic and cultural educational programs to Marin County at-risk youth. As executive director, she has secured grant and donation support allowing her to provide more than $320,000 in college scholarships to Marin City students—the majority of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Ten scholars have graduated college since the inception of the Dream Keeper Scholarship Program in 2008, and the Hannah Project is currently providing financial support and guidance to twenty-eight local young people enrolled in post-secondary institutions across the United States. In addition, the Hannah Project Partnership offers weekly tutorial assistance to middle and high school students as well as a college preparatory program for high school seniors. Read more about Ms. Hodges online.
90th Annual Commencement Exercises
Date: Friday, May 26, 2017
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Diamond Physical Education Center, 700 College Avenue, Kentfield Campus
About College of Marin
Established in 1926, College of Marin remains committed to educational excellence, providing equitable opportunities, and fostering success in all members of its diverse community. With campuses in Kentfield and Novato, students of all ages have affordable access to an exciting variety of credit and noncredit courses as well as community education classes for lifelong learning. College of Marin is one of 113 public community colleges in California and approximately 13,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students enroll annually.
College of Marin is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.