Special guest Dr. Jill Biden to speak at Mesa Community College 2023-2024 commencement ceremony

MESA, Arizona - April 30, 2024 - The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, Ed.D. will deliver remarks as special guest speaker at Mesa Community College’s (MCC) commencement ceremony on May 11, 2024. As a classroom teacher for more than 30 years, Dr. Biden is a long-time advocate for higher education, particularly community colleges. While serving as First Lady, Dr. Biden has continued teaching English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has been a professor since 2009. The commencement address follows Dr. Biden’s February 2023 visit to MCC where she highlighted affordable community college programs like Mesa College Promise.

More than 540 students will participate in the college’s 2023-2024 graduation ceremony. Interim President Dr. Kimberly Britt will celebrate the accomplishments of more than 2,500 students who successfully met academic requirements to earn Certificates of Completion and Associate Degrees during the 2023-2024 academic year.

“We are very honored that Dr. Biden will join us to celebrate this important day for our graduates and for the college,” said Britt. “Dr. Biden last visited the Southern and Dobson Campus in February 2023 with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Mesa Mayor John Giles to emphasize the affordability of community college programs like Mesa College Promise that offers career-connected learning opportunities that lead to well-paying jobs. ”

While the event is open only to graduates and their invited guests, ceremonies will be live streamed at mesacc.edu/live beginning at 9 a.m. for those who wish to view the ceremony. Event details are available at mesacc.edu/graduation/event.

Themed “A Time to Remember and a Time to Celebrate”, the ceremony includes MCC student performances. Adara Knelange will sing the National Anthem and pre- and post-event entertainment will be provided by MCC Disc Jockey Techniques students.

Other honored guest speakers include MCC alumna Lorena Austin, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from the 9th District, and Governing Board President Susan Bitter Smith and Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales from the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Noemi Panza, a first-generation college student from Italy, is the 2023-2024 Class Honors Speaker.

Every student has an important story to tell about the path leading to this milestone event in their lives. Several graduate candidates from all walks of life share details of their personal experiences at mesacc.edu/graduation/graduation-success-stories to inspire others.

“Our faculty and staff congratulate these students who have reached this significant milestone in their lives, many of whom began their academic journey amid the pandemic,” said Britt. “They should take tremendous pride in the courage it took to accomplish their goals.”

The MCCCD serves approximately 140,000 students annually, making it one of the
largest community college districts in the nation. The district is also the largest workforce training organization in Arizona and a vital economic engine contributing significantly to the economies of Arizona and the region.

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, 480-461-7892, dawn.zimmer@mesacc.edu

Government relations contact: Lauren Armour, 602-908-0131, lauren.armour@domail.maricopa.edu

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 25,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations through a combination of modalities. MCC is transforming how it champions student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution with nearly 50% of its students being the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges; its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes as well as out-of-state tribes. The diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit mesacc.edu to learn more.

MCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), hlcommission.org

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit www.maricopa.edu/non-discrimination.

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Publication Date: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2024