FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla (December 15, 2017) – On Thursday, December 14, Broward College conferred more than 5,588 degrees and certificates at its 86th commencement ceremony at the BB&T Center located in Sunrise, Florida.
"We congratulate all of our students for reaching a major milestone in their lives," said Broward College President J. David Armstrong, Jr. "Now it's time for our students to reach their potential either by entering the workforce prepared to make a difference in our community or continuing their education."
Broward College President J. David Armstrong, Jr. addressed an excited crowd of bachelor's degree, associate's degree, and technical certificate graduates who represent more than 93 countries. The oldest graduate was 76.
The keynote address was delivered by Broward County Court Judge Florence Taylor-Barner. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Judge Taylor-Barner made history by becoming the first black female judge by an election in Broward County, the first Haitian-American elected judge in the history of the state, and one of only two Haitian-American judges in Florida. She believes in, and abides by, her family motto to "help the lesser of your brothers." Since then, Barner has volunteered as a mentor to law students with the Florida Bar Young Lawyer's Law Student Division Mentoring Program and formally mentors other attorneys through the Broward County Bar Association.
During the ceremony, President Armstrong featured outstanding students in the graduating class, including:
- Denist Oscar, a 27 year-old U.S. Army veteran, was used to breaking boundaries in male-dominated industries. She already holds a bachelor's degree in Information Technology and Math, started a master's in Managing Information Systems and is the first in her family to complete college. However, none of these achievements were as rewarding as the decision to pursue a certificate in Airframe Powerplant Mechanics at Broward College. It's not a popular field among women: typical classes have one female to every eight males, but having worked as an auto mechanic in the Army she had developed a passion for tools. Oscar worked full-time while completing the program and her skills and attention to detail have earned her the respect of peers and professors alike.
- Ramona Pintilie came to the United States from Romania 22 years ago. She worked as a travel agent for American Express for ten years,but lost her job during the economic downturn. On a friend's recommendation, she returned to school in 2010 to study nursing. The 42-year-old has two children, one with autism. Her nursing classes took a toll when both her mother-in-law and sister-in-law passed away, so Pintilie opted not to return to classes. After meeting with a nursing advisor, she switched gears and to become a teacher. She quickly found her passion, graduating with an associate's degree in Liberal Arts and now her bachelor's degree in Middle School Science.
- For 25 years, Plantation resident Travis Donnell worked as a food and beverage manager. Three months into his position as the food and beverage manager at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, he kept getting sick. A trip to the emergency clinic would prove it was more than the flu. Once he was rushed to the hospital and the test results returned, Donnell found out he had leukemia. The next six months began with a 31-day stay at Memorial West Hospital and recurring stays for rounds of chemo. When in remission, at 45 years old, he made the decision to go back to school. As Donnell puts it, "I wanted to develop more, learn more, do more. I wasn't done yet." He enrolled in the accelerated Bachelors of Applied Science in Supply Chain Management. For someone who had been out of school for 20 years, it wasn't easy adjusting to life as a student. He had to work hard, apply himself, and focus. Once he passed the milestone of earning his associate's degree he was hired by Hydraulic Supply Company at its Sunrise distribution center. He says that his being in the program was a selling point for his new employers and they encouraged his studies. This humble man says that if it weren't for his classmates, he wouldn't have graduated.
For more information regarding the Broward College commencement ceremony, contact Lesli Franco at (954) 201-7556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Broward College:
Serving more than 63,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the college is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit www.broward.edu.