Airhorns sounded. Caps flew. A crowd of more than 5,000 erupted into a celebratory roar that filled Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium. Metropolitan Community College’s third annual five-campus graduation was a resounding success for the 900+ students who moved their tassels and headed off into the night as graduates.
MCC Chancellor Mark James offered his congratulations to the gathering of students, pointing out that they now had at least one thing in common entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman – they were all graduates of MCC.
James also introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, CiCi Rojas. Rojas, who became CEO of the Central Exchange in 2013, has served in various other executive leadership positions around Kansas City and across the country, including vice president of community engagement for Truman Medical Centers and CEO of both the Greater Kansas City and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. She has long been a supporter of MCC, serving on the board of the MCC Foundation since 2011 and, in 2013, serving as chair of the Foundation’s fourth annual Five Star Gala. In addition to her involvement with MCC, Rojas volunteers her time with numerous other community organizations at both the local and national levels.
Rojas has long been a supporter of MCC, and in her keynote address, she urged recent graduates to use education as a building block for their future successes, both personal and professional. Drawing comparisons to her favorite sport, football, Rojas encouraged listeners build their work ethic along with their educational credentials.
“Become that go-to guy or girl that your boss can depend on,” she said. “Be that person who can take the ball and take it all the way.”
The 2014 ceremony marks the third year that the college has celebrated graduation as One MCC – all five campuses together in a single ceremony. Next year, MCC will celebrate its 100th anniversary.