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TCC to hold 48th commencement ceremony on Saturday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 30, 2014) – Tallahassee Community College will hold its 48th commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 3, at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

TCC will graduate close to 3,000 students earning an associate’s degree from the Summer 2013, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 terms. More than 400 graduates are expected to participate in Saturday’s ceremony.

The evening will include remarks from TCC President Jim Murdaugh and student speaker Anthony Johnson. Judge Nikki Ann Clarke, Florida First District Court of Appeal, will be the guest speaker.

Johnson, a Tallahassee native who will receive his Associate in Arts degree on Saturday, plans to transfer to Florida State University in the fall to major in economics. He is a member of Black Male Achievers and the Black Student Union.

Judge Clark has served the Florida justice system for more than two decades in various capacities, notably designing and implementing the Independent Living and Unified Family courts. She is vice-chair of the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Children and Families in the Court. Clark taught trial practice at the Florida State University College of Law from 1998 to 2009 and has also taught seminars and courses on elections dispute litigation and principles of democracy in nine West African nations, including Nigeria, Senegal and Mali. Clark has received numerous awards and recognitions for her judicial and public service, including Florida State University’s Rosa L. Parks Leadership Award for Judicial Service, the Sojourner Truth Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Judge of the Year from the Florida Law-Related Education Association and the Administration of Justice Award from the Florida Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

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TCC’s graduating class includes several students who have had remarkable journeys to a college degree. Below is a sample of these inspiring stories:

Lydia Gartwait is an 18-year-old dual-enrolled/home-school student who will graduate with her A.A. degree. Gartwait received a scholarship through QuestBridge to transfer to Colorado College, where she will major in biology and anthropology. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Gartwait plans to join the Peace Corps before going to medical school. She is a Tallahassee native and a member of the TCC Honors Program. 

Originally from India, Bindi Patel came to the United States in 2011. She enrolled at TCC in 2012 in academic support classes and will graduate this spring with an A.A. degree and a GPA of 3.82. Patel serves as a math tutor at the TCC Learning Commons and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the International Student Association. She is passionate about computer programming. Patel will attend FSU to pursue a degree in computer science. Her goal is to become a versatile applications architect.

Hamad Almutairi decided at the age of 20 to leave his university's engineering program in Kuwait to move to the United States to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Upon his arrival at TCC, Almutairi first enrolled in the College's English Language Program to improve his English. He then went on to earn a 3.62 GPA in his A.A. degree program. In Fall 2014, Almutairi will enroll in the Rochester Institute of Technology's program in film studies. Of his ultimate goal following completion of his undergraduate studies, Almutairi said, "I want to be the bridge between Arab culture and the rest of the world, to communicate with them through movies, to share with them the culture of the Arab people."

Toinya Campbell began at TCC in academic support programs and is now completing her A.A. degree. She will transfer to FSU to pursue a degree in communications with a minor in film. Campbell was a member of TCC’s award-winning forensics team, winning two gold medals, two silver metals and one bronze medal while competing at two national tournaments. Of her experience on the TCC forensics team, Campbell said, "This program saved and changed my life. It allowed me to challenge myself and triumph in the midst of my trials." She plans to pursue a career in acting.

Marcelo Del Vecchio was born in Bogota, Colombia. He moved to the United States in 2002 and later attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale. Del Vecchio is very involved with many student organizations, such as the International Student Organization. He will start at FSU in the fall as a business major.


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Tallahassee Community College (TCC) is committed to an environment that embraces Diversity and Inclusion, respects the rights of all individuals, provides equal access and equal opportunity, and does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in its programs and activities. For information regarding the College's non-discrimination policies and Title IX compliance visit our Equity and Civil Rights page or email directly to (Other Languages)
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