COD’s Commencement is May 25 Plans Are Nearing Completion
Students and faculty are busy getting ready for Commencement at College of the Desert (COD). The annual graduation ceremony on May 25 is the highlight of the year, filled with color and pageantry, short speeches, and the traditional caps and gowns and distribution of hard-earned diplomas.
This year there are two student commencement speakers graduating with highest honors: Lisa M. Gomez and Anthony Mariano. They will be introduced by Adrian Gonzales, Interim Vice President, Student Affairs. Each will talk about their educational journeys.
Lisa Gomez is a graduate of Palm Springs High School. She was born in Baltimore, MD, and has been a resident of the Coachella Valley for the last 42 years. At age 54, she has two grown children and four grandchildren. She has been employed at Desert Sands Unified School District for 11 years as a Para-Educator working with special needs students.
Tony Mariano graduated from South River High School in New Jersey. The same year he joined the U.S. Navy and served for the next 20 years. Mariano retired from the Navy in 2005 as a Hull Maintenance Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer. He and his family relocated to the desert in 2009. Mariano and his wife, Denise, have two sons at Palm Desert High School. After graduation, he plans to attend Brandman University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Following Commencement, students, families and friends will gather at the nearby Wright Gymnasium for a reception and refreshments in an event sponsored by the COD Alumni Association.
Over 600 students are eligible to walk in the graduation processional and at least 325 are expected to participate. In addition to the students, a large number of faculty and staff attend the ceremonies, and the college continues to have crowds of 1,700 observers turn out to cheer on family members and friends who are graduating.
Highlights will include: presentation of colors by COD’s Public Safety Academy Color Guard, the pledge of allegiance led by Simon Myers, President, Associated Students of College of the Desert, and welcome remarks by COD President Jerry R. Patton. Dr. Fred Jandt, Dean, CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, will deliver remarks to COD’s graduates, many of whom will be transferring to the CSU campus. Faculty and administration will be presented by Farley Herzek, Vice President of Academic Affairs. Zerryl Becker, Associate Professor Computer Information Systems and President, Academic Senate, will introduce the Outstanding Faculty Member for 2011-12, Carol Amelia Lasquade, Coordinator/Counselor, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) & CalWorks, who will deliver an address.
Degrees will be awarded by President Patton and Dr. Bonnie Stefan, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Entertainment will be provided by COD’s Jazz Guitar Ensemble, directed by Dr. Anthony Fesmire, Associate Professor Music. The student ensemble consists of Marco Murrieta, Christian Colin, Kenneth Bozanich, Jesse Linares and Jose Marcial, playing guitars; Louis Rabago on bass; and Jose Ceja on drums.