Howard Community College (HCC) will honor its 2021 graduates with a virtual commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 27, at 4 p.m. During the celebration, 1,293 candidates will collectively earn 1,448 degrees and certificates. The virtual ceremony will be shown on the HCC website, marking the 50th commencement ceremony for the community college.
“This has been an academic year like no other, and I commend every one of our graduates for their fortitude, for staying focused on their end goal, even when their lives were turned upside down,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “I am truly honored to be your president and to watch you achieve your degree or certificate.”
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and Howard County Council Chair Liz Walsh will provide celebratory greetings, followed by the commencement address by Dr. Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Dr. Bumphus holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin. He holds the distinction of being one of few education leaders to receive the ACCT Marie Y. Martin CEO of the Year Award, chair the AACC Board of Directors, and receive the AACC Leadership Award.
Student Farah Alabdulrazzak will deliver the graduate address. Originally from Syria and Saudi Arabia, Farah came to the United States for the chance to earn a college degree. She started in the Howard Community College’s noncredit English Institute to improve her English skills and prepare for credit-bearing classes. She is graduating with her associate degree with plans to transfer to a four-year university and become a registered clinical dietician.
“When I first graduated from high school, my resume had my name and my birthdate. Now that I am graduating from HCC, I have a five-pages-long resume,” said Alabdulrazzak. “But to be honest, it is beyond what is written on paper. It is the everyday life skills and personal growth… Only in the right environment we can see our abilities and talents. Each one of us can see where we were and where we are now and how much of a difference the right environment can make.”
Two Howard Community College students, Abigail Pauline Tack and Oluwasemilore Oluwagbenro, were selected to receive the Award for Academic Excellence. The HCC Educational Foundation provides this $1,000 award to students who have excelled in their coursework for use as they continue their education.
The Howard Community College Board of Trustees will also recognize Dr. Lillian Bauder and Mr. George Doetsch with honorary associate of arts degrees. Dr. Bauder formerly served as vice president of Masco Corporation, where she led global, corporate strategic initiatives, represented the corporation in civic and charitable activities and was chairman and president of the Masco Corporation Foundation before retiring in 2007. Mr. Doetsch, Jr. is currently the chairman of Apple Ford Lincoln and sits on the boards of the Community Foundation of Howard County, the Community Action Council for Howard County, and the Howard County Police Foundation, which he helped establish.
During the ceremony, each graduating student will be recognized with a custom visual featuring their name and photo. The virtual celebration will conclude with well-wishes from Howard Community College faculty and staff. The commencement will also be streamed on the college’s Facebook page (@howardcc), where viewers can participate in a virtual watch party. For more information, visit howardcc.edu/commencement.