Approximately 400 graduates took part in the first in-person ceremony since 2019, with Superintendent/President Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey presiding and hundreds of faculty, friends and family members in attendance.
SAN MARCOS, CA (May 27, 2022) — In a ceremony filled with moving tributes and stories of perseverance, Palomar College honored a new class of graduates with its first in-person commencement exercises in three years on Friday, May 27, 2022.
The ceremony was also the first to be conducted by Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey, who joined the Palomar Community College District as Superintendent/President in summer 2021. Hundreds of spectators gathered on the football practice field with graduates, faculty and college staff on a picture-perfect evening on the San Marcos campus. For those who couldn’t attend, the event was live-streamed on Palomar’s website and can be viewed online.
“I can’t help but reflect on all that we have been through over the past two years,” Dr. Rivera-Lacey told students. “Yet, despite all these obstacles, here we are today. You have shown incredible resilience and dedication in your relentless pursuit of your academic goals”, she continued.
Approximately 450 students participated in Friday’s ceremony. In all, the college awarded 4,429 degrees and certificates approved during the 2021-22 academic year.
The keynote speaker on Friday was Richard Albistegui-Dubois, Ph.D, winner of the 2020-21 Distinguished Faculty Award for full-time faculty. Dr. Albistegui-Dubois teaches human physiology and is Chair of the Biology Department at Palomar.
Palomar’s 2022 Alumna of the Year, Julie Moss, also addressed the graduates. Moss is an Ironman and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame inductee who attended Palomar in the late 1970s and rose to fame when she crawled across the finish line at the 1982 Ironman World Championship. Her memoir, Crawl of Fame, was published in 2018.
Many of those who graduated on Friday persevered through the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic to earn their degrees and certificates—a fact noted by several of the speakers who addressed the audience during the ceremony.
“The perseverance, the dedication, sometimes the painful, stressful moments that got you here, they will serve you very well,” said Moss. “Because it’s the hard things, the things that are super-challenging, that force you to dive deep within yourself and … get down to the core values of who you are.”
This year’s Valedictorian was Citlalli Solorio, whose story illustrated the extraordinary determination with which the class of 2022 pursued their higher education.
“Most of us—dare I say all of us—have had to overcome a number of challenges to be able to stand here this afternoon,” said Marie-Therese Mouawad, Palomar’s 2021-2022 Associated Student Government President. “Despite all of the setbacks and challenges, today we cross that finish line. You are an inspiration to the people around you.”
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