With the theme, “Moving In, Moving Through, Moving On,” Merritt College celebrated its 62nd Commencement Ceremony on Wednesday, May 24. Out of a total of more than 900 students who received associate degrees or certificates or who will be transferring on to further their education, more than 350 participated in the ceremony.
Honored during the ceremony were two Valedictorians and the Salutatorian, all introduced by Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jeffrey Lamb.
Valedictorian Asmita Neupane (right) came to Merritt from her home country of Nepal. She achieved a 4.0 in her studies and received an Associate’s Degree in Health Sciences with her ultimate dream goal of becoming a nurse. She is currently getting experience by volunteering at San Leandro Hospital.
Valedictorian Anya Elizabeth Edwards (not present) majored in Administration of Justice and graduated with an Associate in Science for Transfer Degree with a 4.0 GPA. She will be transferring to Cal State East Bay and in the future plans to work in the law enforcement field.
Salutatorian Berenice Diaz Estrada (left) was born and raised in Oakland and graduated from Oakland High School. She came to Merritt because of the excellent reputation of the Radiologic Science Program and is hoping to start the program soon. In the meantime, she has earned Associate Degrees in both Health Sciences and Natural Sciences and a Certificate in Teacher Assistant. She graduated with a 3.96 GPA.
Commencement Speaker Dr. Siri Brown, a passionate and committed educator at Merritt who is currently serving as Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, gave a truly inspirational speech honoring the graduates for their successes no matter how long it took, how many challenges they had to face, or how many people may have discouraged them.
For the first time, Merritt’s newly appointed president, Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns, presided over the ceremony.
“It is an honor to have participated in this year’s Commencement ceremony and be surrounded by all of the students who worked so hard to get to this point,” says President Burns. “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.”