PGCC Holds 59th Commencement Ceremony

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Article by: Tabresha B. Langham

For Immediate Release


LARGO, Md. (May 31, 2018) –Each year, the Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) commencement ceremony warrants copious congratulatory chants as students, faculty, and staff enter into the arena. Family and friends gather to celebrate a new beginning for students who will either transfer to four-year universities or enter the workforce. It is a proud moment for the students, and even prouder moment for the college.

This year was no different.

Prince George’s Community College conferred more than 1,000 degrees at its 59th commencement on May 24, 2018, at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Some students became the first to receive a college degree in their family. Others received their associate degree only hours after receiving their high school diploma. And others, like the student commencement speaker LaQuitta Pickett, were able to realize lifelong goals, complete their degree, and create better lives for themselves and for their family.

“This isn’t my first attempt at a college degree, but this time . . . THIS TIME . . . This time is my time, and I did it!” Ms. Pickett exclaimed to an arena filled with delighted parents and students inspired for what’s to come next.

She shared stories of confusion and lack of focus and purpose before she enrolled at PGCC to complete her associate degree in communications. She called on the graduates to be brave and fierce and to know that their dreams are valid.

Prince George’s Community College is committed to be a place where students can realize their dreams. This is one of many reasons Floyd Wilson is happy to serve on the college’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Wilson, who was the first African-American on the Prince George’s County Council, moved to the county in 1965. At the commencement reception prior to the ceremony, he talked about the growth he has seen in the community and how equipping the county’s residents with a quality education has been important to its success. He always enjoys commencement because he gets to “see students graduate and go out and get a good job because they got a good education.”

A good education undoubtedly makes a difference. But so does the unwavering support of faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni who sincerely believe in the success of students. This is what PGCC offers, and is what commencement speaker and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Shirley Hayden says is a reason for her success.

“I’ve gone to places I never would have imagined had I not stepped foot on this campus,” she said in her speech. “All of us are at different stages in our career, but if you stay connected, you don’t know what opportunities you’ll receive.” 

Her words echoed sentiments of community and networking that are important at any place of higher education. At PGCC, caring about students does not end once they graduate and receive their degree. What happens next is just as important as what happens while students are enrolled at the college.

Prince George’s Community College President Dr. Charlene M. Dukes awarded Mrs. Hayden with both the Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary degree. Mrs. Hayden thanked her and also shared how the college was one of the first customers to purchase a large order for The Unique Seat, one of her many inventions. She professed immense gratitude to the college and to Dr. Dukes for keeping her connected to PGCC all these years. “Had I not stayed connected, this evening wouldn’t be possible,” she said.

The 59th commencement ceremony culminated a fulfilling year for PGCC. Not only did the college open the new Culinary Arts Center, but it also transitioned to a pathways institution to offer streamlined courses and learning for students to complete programs, transfer to four-year universities, or enter the workforce. As the college moves forward in the years to come, these things will play a great part in making commencement more and more special every year.

Want to hear more stories that make PGCC’s commencement special? Watch 2018 Student Success videos on the PGCC YouTube Channel.


About Prince George’s Community College
Named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security (2015-2020), Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) provides high-quality education and training for the progressive and career-oriented residents of Prince George’s County. From new high school graduates and career seekers to more seasoned professionals and senior citizens looking to enhance their skillsets, PGCC is comprised of students who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and goals. Serving nearly 40,000 individuals annually, the college is the first choice for higher education for residents of Prince George’s County. Collaborative partnerships, responsive degree and training programs, and a commitment to student success enable PGCC to address diverse education and workforce development demands. For more information, visit the college website at Prince George’s Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; (267-284-5000); Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.