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Edmonds College celebrates its 48th annual Commencement ceremony


Edmonds College celebrates its 48th annual Commencement ceremony tonight at 7:30 p.m. at XFINITY Arena in Everett.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

"We applaud the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of our graduates as they begin to realize their unlimited potential," Hernandez said. "They have taken a great step toward a brighter future. We value their motivation and look forward to the contributions they will make as industry and civic leaders, entrepreneurs, volunteers, lifelong learners, and members of our local and global community."

In 2014-15, Edmonds CC awarded 1,785 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 67.

Leah Carter
Leah Carter, student speaker at Edmonds CC's 2015 commencement.

This year’s student commencement speakers are Leah Carter, 20, and Brian Faust, 36.

Carter first attended Edmonds CC in winter quarter of 2013, after attending Salt Lake Community College in Utah. She had no idea what to study and didn’t know anyone in the area. She chose Edmonds CC because they were one of the only community colleges with housing, a rare find in community colleges.

Before college, Carter attended six different high schools, so she learned not to get too comfortable when it came to a new school; however, when she found Edmonds CC, it quickly became clear to her this would be an experience like none other and it felt like a home.

“I made a family here out of caring instructors and faculty, my lively coworkers, and the bubbly and thriving student body,” said Carter. “The professors here were not just teachers but life coaches and cheerleaders. They don’t just care about the grades, but how your life is going.”

Carter served as a Resident Assistant in Rainier Place — Edmonds CC student resident hall —  helping fellow students and enjoyed connecting with students, instructors, and the wider college network.

“This has been the most rewarding experience,” said Carter. “By taking this position, I accepted a role of responsibility and leadership, which I have enjoyed learning from and stepping up to,” said Carter.

Although Carter learned many things through her experiences at Edmonds CC, the piece of advice that resonated most with her was from her father. “It is far better to be a big fish in a small sea, than a small fish in a big sea.”

This advice highly reflected her time at Edmonds CC because she got to stand out and be recognized — opportunities she felt she never could have gotten at a bigger university.

“Little did I realize it, but I created something I will miss dearly when I transfer to a four-year school in the fall,” said Carter.  

After graduating from Edmonds CC with an Associate of Arts, Carter hopes to pursue psychology as a major. Her dream job is in negotiations, working on a unit to support people who are experiencing crisis.

“I hope one day to help others, to apply my 3.9 GPA to worldly deeds,” said Carter.  “I want to make a difference, if only to improve one person’s life.”

Brian Faust
Brian Faust, student speaker at Edmonds CC's 2015 commencement.

Faust moved to Seattle from New York four years ago and found that the job market was hurting. “Employers wanted the best of the best and expanding my knowledge through education was the only way to position myself to stand out in such a competitive market,” said Faust.

Faust started at Edmonds CC in the summer of 2013. He learned about the college through friends and neighbors and chose Edmonds CC because of its good reputation. Faust has his Bachelor of Science in History from Pace University. Before Edmonds CC, Faust was a Facilities Manager for an insurance company in New York City.

Faust decided to return to school as an older student because in order to get a job in the business industry, he felt that he needed to fill a missing piece on his resume, which was education — so he chose to study Business Management.

“Higher education is not just for recent high school graduates,” said Faust. “With commitment and lots of motivation, people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience can succeed.”

Faust said his favorite memory from his time at Edmonds CC was when his Project Management class worked on a reusable water bottle initiative. His group was responsible for fundraising. “It was a fun and practical class — relevant to what you are going to go out and do in the world,” said Faust.

After graduating from Edmonds CC with his Business Management degree, Faust will be transferring to Central Washington University-Lynnwood to pursue Business Administration. Ultimately, he would like to go into Project Management.

Faust’s advice to the graduating class, “each of us possess a gift that can really shine a light and make a difference. We must take these gifts and turn them into positive action to make our communities stronger and better.”


2014-15 Graduating Class — By the Numbers

1,785 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs
(1,695 without GED® count included)
41 percent earned college transfer degrees (730 degrees)
44 percent earned career degrees or certificates
(782 degrees and certificates)
15 percent completed GEDs or high school diplomas
(90 GEDs, plus 183 diplomas for a total of 273)
29 – average age of graduates
58 percent female
42 percent male
20 percent international students
67 – age of oldest graduate, Human Services Associate of Technical Arts Degree
17 – age of youngest graduate, Associate in Business Degree

Information based on May 2015 data.  

2014-15 College Highlights

During the past year, some of our best moments were spent:

  • Applauding Edmonds CC President, Dr. Jean Hernandez, for attending a White House summit on strengthening college remediation. Dr. Hernandez was among leading practitioners, researchers, and other higher education leaders exploring effective strategies to improve success for students in need of remediation.
  • Recognizing all that veterans have done for us. The Edmonds CC Foundation proudly reached its $1 million fundraising campaign goal to support student veterans, ensuring a supportive path from military service to Edmonds CC. Boots to Books and Beyond funds will support critical on-campus resources, services, and activities during the next five years and beyond.
  • Congratulating Emily Yim, Edmonds CC Board of Trustees Chair, who was elected on a national level to the Association of Community College Trustees Executive Committee.
  • Congratulating Girish Chummun for serving as the second student representative on the Edmonds CC Board of Trustees.
  • Honoring Edmonds CC alumnus Chester Curtis who was one of five community college students statewide to earn a Transforming Lives award from the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges.
  • Celebrating Edmonds CC for being recognized as a Champion of Sustainability at the Seattle Seahawks game on Nov. 23 for demonstrating a commitment to sustainability by the Seattle Seahawks and McKinstry.
  • Cheering on Lisa Bauer, Edmonds CC Horticulture alumna, who won the Founder’s Cup at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.
  • Applauding the Edmonds CC Horticulture department for receiving a $9,500 grant from the Sustainable Path Foundation to construct an aquaponics system.
  • Commending Dr. Tom Murphy, Edmonds CC anthropology instructor, who received 90.7 KSER’s Community Impact by an Individual award for his work bringing together faculty and students, local governments, non-profits, Native American Tribes, and other community partners to foster cross-cultural communication and activism.
  • Congratulating Edmonds CC alumnus Benjamin Kanligi for being awarded a prestigious grant offered by the U.S. Department of State Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF).
  • Awarding — for the eighth straight year — two $1,300, one $600 scholarship, and two $350 Edmonds CC Community Read scholarships to students Megan McDermott, Denica McMillan, Shabina Pal, Ilene Ong, and Kathryn Severson. They each read “You’ve Got It All Wrong” and submitted projects inspired by the book.
  • Hailing Wilson Charles, Edmonds CC alumnus and Maria Veronica, Edmonds CC student for being chosen to represent Edmonds CC on the All-Washington Academic Team.
  • Lauding Alexandra Serdyuk, Edmonds CC student, who had her research paper accepted at the 29th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and was selected out of 3,700 submissions.
  • Congratulating Vaughn Sherman for receiving the Cornerstone Award for his long-standing devotion and support of Edmonds CC and its Foundation.
  • Partnering with the Boeing Company for the third year to sponsor an Ethics Challenge, in which 25 Edmonds CC students from various academic programs competed. Teams of students discussed ethical strategies through three rounds of live scenarios.
    Applauding Edmonds CC for being nationally highlighted for its efforts to reduce the student default rate.
  • Cheering Kristyn Whisman, Edmonds CC Dean of Corrections Education at Monroe Correctional Complex, as she competed for the title of America’s Strongest Woman. She’s already won four times, in 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2014.
  • Saluting Edmonds CC for being recognized as a culture of wellness by the American Heart Association yet again in 2015.
  • Appreciating Feven Haile, Edmonds CC alumna; Melissa Newell, Edmonds CC art instructor; and Steven Oliver, Edmonds CC Staff, for their talent during their art gallery exhibit, “From the Edge of Understanding.” The collaborative exhibit featured character narratives written by Haile, 100 mixed media images by Newell, and a movie created by Oliver.

    Find out more

    Edmonds CC Commencement