Surrounded by friends and family in the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium, Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) proudly graduated 166 students at this year’s 45th annual 2015 commencement ceremony. Waiting to celebrate with these graduates, many of whom frequented her office, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Christina Stuive reflected on the institution of KPC, “KPC functions as a community within a community, valuing the development of students at a variety of different points in their lives. KPC meets students where they are at and helps them achieve their goals both in terms of their degree and their own personal development,” she said. Celebrating the accomplishments of these graduates, keynote speaker Jane Haigh addressed the audience with a commencement speech highlighting the value in studying the humanities along with the more technical programs that KPC offers, reiterating multiple times that most job listings in this day and age list “Great written and oral communication skills,” among their top priorities.
Illustrating the validity of that sentiment and the quality of education that KPC offers, valedictorian Hunter Hamrick, graduating with an Associates of Applied Science, Process Technology, gave a speech to remember as he correlated the process of attending and graduating from college with a degree in the exact field for which he was trained. Notably, among many other awards, Jean Brockel was presented with the UA Meritorious Service Award for her outstanding contributions in providing educational opportunities to our local community.
Echoing the earlier passionate statements of Stuive, graduate Gwendolyn Nelson, Associate of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, cited the most beneficial aspect in attending KPC was “Learning to work with so many different kinds of people.” She most enjoyed, “the atmosphere and environment that was created by the teachers and the opportunity to experience how our community operates,” she said. Similarly, Angela Oleson, graduating with an Associates of General Business, expressed appreciation in, “Learning to deal with so many different kinds of people was a great experience and I really appreciated how flexible both the teachers and the schedule were, providing the opportunity to work while going to college.”