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Fall 2012 graduation largest in history

For the first time, Seminole State held its graduation at the UCF Arena.
Bagpipers lead the graduation recessional.

More than 3,000 bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and program certificates  – a record number – were awarded this term by Seminole State College of Florida, according to the Department of Enrollment Services.

Students crossed the stage on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. during Seminole State's Fall 2012 Commencement in the University of Central Florida Arena. In a move driven by Seminole State’s growth, this was the first time in 40 years that Commencement took place off-site.

"This is the largest class in our 47-year history!" said Seminole State President Dr. E. Ann McGee in her opening remarks.

Graduates of all Seminole State programs, including 14 who earned bachelor’s degrees, participated.

Among the graduates were:

  • Madison Cortes, 17, of Oviedo: She was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer at age 14. Her hospitalization and chemotherapy prevented her from completing high school. Cancer-free in January 2011, she enrolled in the GED program at Seminole State. She earned her GED in March 2012 and began taking classes at Seminole State toward an A.A. degree. Her goal is to become a doctor.
  • Joyce January, 60, and her daughter, April Ross, 34, both of Orlando: Both graduated with an A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education. They plan to open a daycare/learning academy together.
  • Eric Wilson, 36, of Apopka: An Iraq veteran, he worked alongside doctors of science and Ivy League medical students as an intern at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando. An Honors Institute graduate, Wilson hopes to pursue a doctorate in science or medicine.
  • Satoshi Serizawa, 38, of Orlando: The bachelor's degree grad left Japan for a new life in Central Florida in 2001. While at Seminole State, he was named one of the top student kitchen designers in the nation.

Dr. John Hitt, who recently celebrated his 20th anniversary as president of the University of Central Florida, provided the keynote address, noting that 25 percent of Seminole State's graduates were first-generation college students.

"As a first-generation graduate myself," Hitt said, "I understand the difference a college degree can make."

In another first for Seminole State, the College introduced its ceremonial mace during the ceremony. The mace was crafted from a six-foot branch of “The Senator,” one of the world’s oldest bald cypress trees and the largest native tree in Florida.

For photos from the graduation, visit Seminole State's official Facebook page.

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