Students at the 2015 City College commencement

Graduates from City College’s 2015 commencement ceremony. At the district’s three colleges, Latino graduates will earn more degrees and certificates this year than any other ethnic group.

District sets new record with 3,500 students earning degrees

May 6, 2016 | San Diego Community College District

The San Diego Community College District – which has seen a 45 percent increase in degrees conferred since 2014 – kicks off its spring commencement ceremonies May 13 at San Diego Miramar College.   

A record 3,500 Associate Degrees are being awarded this spring by San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College. The total represents a nearly 7 percent increase from the number of degrees awarded last year, and a 45 percent increase from the 2,414 degrees awarded in 2014. Significantly, two of every three degrees conferred this year are being earned by students of color.   

The increase in degrees conferred follows an information campaign launched by the district in 2014. The Earn More Than A Degree campaign is part of a larger, districtwide effort to double the number of students who earn a degree or certificate by 2022. 

In addition to the 3,500 degrees being conferred this year, the SDCCD also is awarding 6,477 certificates at its three colleges and San Diego Continuing Education, an increase of 17 percent over last year.

“The San Diego Community College District is continuing to grow in its service to the community,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll. “The dramatic increases in the number of degrees awarded and other measures of student accomplishment show that our colleges are meeting the needs of students in a manner that is both high-quality and very practical, from the accessible formats for scheduling classes to the selection of classes that address both workforce preparation and university transfer goals.”

Following is the schedule of commencements for the second largest community college district in California:

- San Diego Miramar College will hold its 2016 commencement on Friday, May 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Hourglass Fieldhouse on campus. Keynote speaker will be San Diego Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy, who graduated from the Fire Academy and Miramar College in October of 1990. As the city’s 17th fire chief, Fennessy directs a department with a $220 million annual budget and more than 1,200 firefighters, lifeguards, paramedics, and civilian personnel. An estimated 870 associate degrees and 484 certificates of achievement will be awarded by the college. San Diego Miramar College is at 10440 Black Mountain Road, 92126.

- San Diego Mesa College will hold its 2016 commencement on Saturday, May 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. Rory Pullens, the former head of one of the nation’s top arts schools is San Diego Mesa College’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus. Pullens for a decade led is the nationally renowned Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., where his inner-city students posted annual graduation rates of 98 percent and college acceptance rates of 95 percent. He now serves as Executive Director of Arts Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District. An estimated 1,610 associate degrees and 368 certificates of achievement will be awarded by Mesa College. 

- San Diego City College will hold its graduation ceremony from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Among those scheduled to speak is student scholar Issanna Loughman, a 2016 New Century Scholar who was one of just 20 students across the nation named to the 2016 All-USA Community College Academic Team. The once-homeless psychology major is on the Dean’s List and has been inducted into two national honor societies, Psi Beta and Phi Theta Kappa. An estimated 1,058 associate degrees and 587 certificates of achievement will be awarded by the college. 

- San Diego Continuing Education will hold its graduation ceremony from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 27, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Taking part in the ceremony are students who have earned a high school diploma, a high school equivalency diploma, or a Continuing Education Certificate. One of California’s largest adult education divisions, more than 5,000 certificates alone will be awarded by Continuing Education this spring. The ceremonies are held in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District. 

Research shows that students who transfer with an associate degree are 77 percent more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within four years, compared to students who do not have an associate degree. And associate degree holders earn $421,000 more over a working lifetime than someone with a high school diploma. Almost half of students who graduated with an associate degree – even those who did not transfer to a university – earned more than $54,000 annually five years after securing their diploma.

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