62nd Annual Merritt College Commencement to be Held Today; Merritt’s Dr. Siri Brown to Speak

62nd Annual Merritt College Commencement to be Held Today; Merritt’s Dr. Siri Brown to Speak

Merritt College will celebrate its 62nd Commencement Ceremony on Wednesday, May 24, at 5:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. Out of a total of more than 900 students who will receive associate degrees or certificates or who will be transferring on to further their education, more than 350 will be participating in the ceremony.


The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Siri Brown, a passionate and committed educator at Merritt, who is serving as Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Before that position, Dr. Brown taught Ethnic Studies and African-American Studies and served as Department Chair for 10 years. Among many other contributions, Dr. Brown helped create a study abroad program, taking hundreds of diverse and underserved students of color from Merritt to Jamaica, Ghana, Cuba, and other countries to learn about the history and culture of the countries. She also established the unique Africana Studies Center at Merritt ,which holds an original digital and interactive curriculum on African and African American History.


Being honored at Commencement this year are two Valedictorians who had equally perfect 4.0 GPAs. They are Asmita Neupane, who will receive an Associate’s Degree in Health Sciences with a dream of becoming a nurse, and Anya Edwards, who will  be awarded an Associate in Science for Transfer Degree for her studies in Administration of Justice. Also being awarded is Berenice Diaz Estrada, who is this year’s Salutatorian and graduated with a 3.96 GPA. She will receive two Associate Degrees in both Health Sciences and Natural Science and a Certificate in Assistant Teacher. She plans to return to Merritt to enroll in the Radiologic Science Program.


For the first time, Merritt’s newly appointed president, Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns, will preside over the ceremony.


“It is an honor to participate in this year’s Commencement and be surrounded by all of the students who worked so hard to get to this point,” says President Burns, who was approved for the position this month by the Board of Trustees of the Peralta Community College District.  “Whether they are getting associate degrees, certificates, or transferring, we are proudly looking forward to watching them achieve success beyond college and demonstrating how much Merritt College has changed their lives.”