LAS VEGAS — The College of Southern Nevada expects to graduate its largest class ever at its 44th annual commencement ceremony May 16 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
A record 3,508 students are eligible to receive 3,901 degrees and certificates, according to preliminary data. Official numbers for the spring 2016 semester will be available once final semester grades are in.
“We’re thrilled to again see a record number of students earn their degrees and certificates,” CSN President Michael Richards said. “It shows us that the steps we have taken to guide students toward completion are helping. We are proud of the Class of 2016 and I look forward to celebrating them.”
CSN has concentrated in recent years on helping students graduate once they’re enrolled. The college has launched or expanded services such as free, unlimited tutoring, math and writing resources centers on each campus, and dedicated counselors for degree-seeking students. In addition, many freshmen are required to attend orientation sessions, take placement testing and meet with advisors or counselors.
Among the graduating class, one-third are graduating with honors or high honors.
The graduating class includes some extraordinary students, all of whom are available for media interviews:
- Athena Anderson, graduating with an associate of arts degree in special education, will be our student commencement speaker. Anderson’s story is one of dedication to education, no matter how difficult it became. Anderson was a special education student who did not enjoy school as a child. Once out of high school, she took courses at other community colleges and repeatedly failed. Not until moving to Las Vegas and enrolling at CSN did she find success. She plans on attending UNLV to pursue a bachelor’s degree in special education.
- Sara Weston, who served as the student government vice president, left a career as a bartender to attend CSN. She thrived at CSN, so much so that she was named a 2016 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar. More than 1,900 students were nominated from more than 1,000 community colleges for this prestigious award. Weston, who served as vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, says she has earned enough scholarship money now to make her final two years of college at UNLV’s Honors College essentially free. She now strongly advocates that others consider community colleges for their freshmen and sophomore years. “The classes are smaller, it’s a better introduction to college,” she said. “I think everyone should put in two years at a community college.” Weston will be graduating with an associate of arts degree in English literature.
- Christel San Diego served as president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was named this year’s Regents’ Scholar for community colleges in Nevada. She is a native of the Philippines, has been an active member of CSN’s student government, and will graduate with an associate degree in business. She plans on attending either UNLV’s Honors College or the University of Pennsylvania. San Diego, whose father is a bus driver, said immigrating to the United States and attending CSN changed her life. “The opportunities are just overflowing,” she said.
- Brenda Romero, the current student body president, is what is sometimes called a Dreamer – she and her family came to Las Vegas from Mexico when she was a toddler. She falls under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy of the Obama administration. Graduating with an associate of arts degree, Romero has aspirations to one day become an immigration lawyer. She is passionate about immigration issues, and is married to a U.S. Navy sailor. Romero credits a belief in herself fostered by her family and old-fashioned hard work for her success.
- Ben Schoonover has a unique story. He, his son Thomas, and Thomas’ wife Amanda are all graduating from CSN together. Schoonover, who recently retired from a career as an electrical construction worker, decided to pursue his passion for airplanes by studying aviation technology at CSN. Meanwhile, his son and daughter in-law also decided to pursue their dreams at CSN, inspired by the retired electrical worker. “We’re late bloomers,” Schoonover said.
CSN’s 44th Commencement Ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, May 16 at the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus. Media interested in talking to students prior to the commencement between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. are encouraged to contact CSN Public Relations specialist Richard Lake at email@example.com on the day of the event. The ceremony will also be streamed live on the internet and available to the public at www.csn.edu/live.
Thousands of new college graduates
44th CSN Commencement ceremony
6 p.m. Monday, May 16
Thomas & Mack Center
Hashtag: search #csngrad
CSN DEGREES AND CERTIFICATES AWARDED PER YEAR
Academic Year 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16*
Degrees/Certificates 2,742 2,881 3,094 3,901
Students 2,574 2,665 2,929 3,508
*2015-16 totals are projected. Final numbers will be available once spring 2016 semester grades are in