Record 3,700 eligible for Pima graduation Thursday
Pima Community College will see members of the largest graduating class in the school's 44-year history accept degrees on Thursday.
The school's administrative troubles — which have led accreditors to put PCC on probation and a bond rating agency to give a negative outlook to the college's finances — haven't put a burden on work in the classroom.
A total of 3,726 students are candidates for graduation, PCC Provost Jerry Migler said in a news release.
While not every student declared eligible by PCC will graduate — some won't file the necessary paperwork, according to college spokesman C.J. Karamargin — the school will award 5,807 degrees and certificates. Many students receive multiple degrees or certificates.
Both figures are records for the multi-campus college, officials said. This year, 102 more students are candidates than in 2012.
The numbers are "a testament to our graduates' love of learning, as well as to the work of the college's faculty and staff, who provide the instruction and services that put our students on the path to success," Migler said.
While a frequent critic of Pima administrators and the Governing Board, PCC Faculty Senate President Joe Labuda said Thursday that he was focusing his thoughts on graduation.
"This should be a happy day, for us and the students," he said.
The oldest Pima graduate is 70-year-old Enriqueta E. Fassler, who earned a post-degree Paralegal Certificate. The youngest is 17-year-old Stephania Vasilieva, a candidate for an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, an Associate of Science, Associate of Business Administration, and Arizona General Education Curriculum-B Certification.
The commencement ceremony will be Thursday night at the Tucson Convention Center Arena. Speaking will be Joshua Allen Place, who is receiving two associate degrees and a certificate.
Attending the college since he was 16, the 20-year-old Place will receive a Computer-Aided Drafting, Integrated Circuit Layout Design-Associate of Applied Science degree, a General Studies-Associate General Studies degree and a Computer Aided Drafting Advanced Certificate.
He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and, with his 3.9 grade point average, is one of only 73 PCC graduation candidates with a GPA of 3.9 or higher, qualifying to graduate with highest honors.