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AACC Celebrates 49th Commencement With Record Numbers

May 27, 2011

Related press release - AACC Expects to Set Records at 49th Commencement

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      Nancy S. Grasmick, Ph.D., state superintendent of schools, delivered the keynote address. Grasmick is the longest-serving appointed state schools superintendent in America. The Baltimore native, who plans to retire June 30, 2011, has led the Maryland K-12 system for two decades. Grasmick made history in 1991 as Maryland’s first woman selected to serve as state superintendent of schools.

      Active on area boards and commissions, Grasmick has served two decades on the Governor’s Executive Council, Maryland Education Council and executive committee of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. Other memberships include the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Board, Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, secretary-treasurer of the Maryland State Board of Education, and the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education.

      Students honored for academic achievements included an estimated 164 associate degree recipients who earned summa cum laude honors with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0, 135 associate degree recipients who received magna cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.6 to 3.79 and 205 associate degree recipients who earned cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.4 to 3.59.

Valedictorian: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Huggins-Hodge

      Valedictorian U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dysha Huggins-Hodge, who earned an Associate of Arts degree in Transfer Studies, achieved much of her 4.0 grade point average through online classes while deployed in Afghanistan and stationed at Fort Meade. She served as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist who traveled to posts to update personnel training and ensure stations were properly prepared in case of hazardous materials incidents.

      Huggins-Hodge used Skype software to take exams and complete class assignments when off duty. She attributes her good grades to the discipline and maturity she learned in the Army. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in social work and specialize in helping teens ages 18 and under.

Presidential Scholar, Student Marshals

      Selected as the 2011 Presidential Scholar is William Christian Capuozzo of Glen Burnie, who earned an Associate of Science degree in the Engineering Transfer program. The recipient of this honor is a graduate with a 4.0 GPA who has completed the program of study within two years.

      Leading the graduates as student marshals (all earning 4.0 GPAs) were:

* David Brian Craig of Linthicum, Associate of Applied Science degree, Medical Laboratory Technician;
* Ami Elisabet Dorn of Linthicum, Associate of Applied Science degree, Medical Assisting;
* Linda Howard Garrett of Severn, Associate of Applied Science degree, Hotel, Restaurant Management Culinary Arts Operations Option and an Associate of Arts degree, Theater Arts Option;
* Susan A. Koller of Millersville, Associate of Science degree, Nursing;
* Rachel M. Man of Pasadena, Associate of Arts degree, Transfer Studies;
* Barry Patrick McMenamin of Severna Park, Associate of Science degree, Engineering Transfer;
* Cheryl Lauren Schmidt of Linthicum, Associate of Science degree, Arts and Sciences Science and Premedical Professional Options, Nursing Option (prebaccalaureate nursing);
* Paula Berman Shantzis of Arnold, Associate of Applied Science degree, Architecture and Interior Design, Interior Design Option.

       The valedictorian, presidential scholar and student marshals are selected through interviews with students who earned a 4.0 GPA and took at least 50 credits at AACC. Not every qualified student chose to compete for these honors.

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