SLCC Marks Historic Graduating Class

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SLCC hosts author, actor and activist Diane Guerrero as the keynote speaker.

Actor Diane Guerrero speaks to SLCC's largest graduating class in school history.

Actor Diane Guerrero speaks to SLCC's largest graduating class in school history.

Let your lives reflect the community values that were enhanced during your time at Salt Lake Community College.

Salt Lake Community College honored its largest-ever graduating class during commencement ceremonies Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City. More than 4,700 graduates ranged in age from 16 to 79, representing 86 countries and 36 states, collectively earning 5,766 degrees and certificates. Almost 200 military veterans and more than 30 of their dependents also graduated.

“Let’s always remember how we feel right now,” said Arturo Salazar, outgoing SLCC student association president. “United and optimistic about a brighter future for ourselves and the wonderful community we call home here in Utah. Let’s commit this morning to be the best we can, to proudly represent the values of this institution and to always fight for what is right.”

This year’s keynote speaker was author and activist Diane Guerrero, known for her roles in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black and The CW Network series Jane the Virgin.

“No matter what you do, you have the ability to do great things,” Guerrero said. “I never thought I’d be here speaking to you guys today. So, dreams do come true. You can make a difference. Let our voices be heard. This is the time to be extraordinary. This is the time to do good. This is the time to let love be the force. Let your lives reflect the community values that were enhanced during your time at Salt Lake Community College. Because, we need you.”

Guerrero was raised in the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston after being taken in by other Colombian families. In 2015, Guerrero was named a White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. She is an outspoken advocate for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform and has worked with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan Latino civic engagement organization to promote citizenship and voter registration.

SLCC’s 2017 honorary doctorate recipients are H. Roger Boyer, chairman of The Boyer Company as well as its director and advisor, and the Honorable Shauna Graves-Robertson, who was appointed to the Salt Lake County Justice Court by the Salt Lake County Commission in January 1999. Lisa Gough, vice president of Sysco Corporation, and Shawn Newell, vice president of business development for Industrial Supply Company, were named Distinguished Alumni.

“I hope during your time at SLCC, you have been challenged and nudged to identify constructs, ideals, values and disciplines you care about,” said SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin. “And I hope you take those concepts and use them passionately to share our world. And I hope that as you move onto your next job or your next degree, you are taking your next steps with gentleness, reflection and humility. Our world, our nation, our state, our country, your neighborhood awaits you. It awaits the tremors you will create.”

Salt Lake Community College is an accredited, student-focused, comprehensive community college meeting the diverse needs of the Salt Lake community. Home to more than 60,000 students each year, the College is Utah’s leading provider of workforce development programs. SLCC is also the largest supplier of transfer students to Utah’s four-year institutions and a perennial Top 10 college nationally for total associate degrees awarded. The College is the sole provider of applied technology courses in the Salt Lake area, with multiple locations, an eCampus, and nearly 1,000 continuing education sites located throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Personal attention from an excellent faculty is paramount at the College, which maintains an average class size of 20.

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Stephen Speckman
Salt Lake Community College
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