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AACC Celebrates 50th Commencement

May 18, 2012

Retiring Anne Arundel Community College President Martha A. Smith, Ph.D., will deliver the keynote address to an estimated crowd of 600 graduates from the Class of 2012 at the college’s 50th Commencement on Thursday, May 24, on the Arnold campus.

      Through May 16, 596 graduates had picked up caps and gowns to attend the ceremony under the tent near College Parkway and Siegert Field. The Board of Trustees approved the award of about 2,137* degrees and certificates to the 1,998* members of the Class of 2012 compared to 2,088 degrees and certificates for the Class of 2011 and 1,814 degrees and certificates for the Class of 2010.

        Smith is retiring on Aug. 1 after providing 18 years of outstanding service to the college and the community. She is well known for her tireless advocacy of community colleges at the state, regional and national levels, where she serves on numerous boards, commissions and workforce organizations. Three Maryland governors appointed her to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and she was named an Influential Marylander this spring.

        The valedictorian is Michael Jeffrey Fahrner of Riva, who is earning an Associate of Science degree in the Engineering Transfer program. The Presidential Scholar is Mary Kathryn Brunk of Crownsville, who is earning an Associate of Science degree in the Science and Premedical Professional program with a concentration in Biology.

        Area motorists not involved in commencement are advised to avoid travel if possible from 5-10 p.m. near the two college entrances on College Parkway and near the college West Campus Drive entrance at Route 2 (Gov. Ritchie Highway). Graduates must report to Jenkins Gymnasium by 5:30 p.m., when instructions are given and the procession line assembles. This year, graduates participating in the ceremony will receive commemorative white stoles. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m., rain or shine.

        College officials urge graduates’ guests to arrive on campus by 6 p.m. to allow time to park and be seated in the tent on the Athletic Practice Field. Only those with guest tickets may sit in the tent. When guest seats fill in the tent, overflow guests will be directed to the air-conditioned simulcast site at the Robert E. Kauffman Theater in the Pascal Center for Performing Arts. Access is through the Student Union.

        Guests with limited mobility are encouraged to arrive early enough to park in the D lot beside Siegert Field. Shuttle vehicles also will travel through parking lots A, B and C to pick up guests with limited mobility who line up at the blue emergency phone towers in the lots. Overflow guest parking is on the west side of campus in lots E, F, G and H. Campus maps are online at

            The ceremony will air live on the college website,, and via AACC TV, which appears on Anne Arundel County cable TV Channel 95 for Comcast and Broadstripe customers and Channel 35 for Verizon customers. The college will rebroadcast commencement on the channel May 25-July 4. For the schedule, visit DVDs of commencement are sold at the AACC Bookstore.

            A reception for graduates and their families will take place in the Student Union dining hall following the ceremony. For commencement information, call 410-777-2243.

* The data for Spring 2012 is preliminary and will change. Some students will not pass their classes in progress while others will petition outstanding requirements through Academic Standards Committee. Some graduates earn more than one degree or certificate.