The Metropolitan Community College district held its first ever five-campus combined graduation ceremony on May 17 and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon delivered the keynote address.
The ceremony, held at the historic Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Mo., included more than 750 graduates from all five MCC campuses: Blue River, Business & Technology, Longview, Maple Woods and Penn Valley. The Municipal Auditorium arena, which seats more than 7,500, was full.
In the past, the college has held separate graduation ceremonies for each campus. This year’s single, district-wide ceremony is a symbol of the college’s increasingly unified nature, says MCC Chancellor Mark James.
“We are ‘One MCC’ with five strong campuses,” said James. “Bringing together all of our graduating students from across the district illustrates for the students and for the community the unity of our college district and the strength in our numbers.”
Some individual graduates’ stories are particularly compelling, including:
- A man whose path to an associate’s degree has been 30 years in the making;
- A mother of 13 children who, after having dropped out of high school, became the first in her family to graduate from college when she received her HVAC certificate;
- A woman who suffered a stroke during her last year of high school, affecting her speech and mobility. She now works at MCC-Maple Woods and graduated in July with her a.a. degree;
- A set of high school students who received their associate’s degrees within days of receiving their high school diplomas as part of the first graduating class of MCC’s Trailblazer Collegiate Academy;
- A Palestinian-born man who has overcome language barriers and citizenship challenges to become a successful KC-area business owner and has now graduated from MCC’s Police Academy; and
- A female veteran who overcame significant obstacles to earn a fellowship and student leadership honors and has worked to help fellow veterans in their transition to civilian–and student–life.
The graduation garnered the following news coverage: