- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
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At its 14th winter commencement, the College of Southern Maryland celebrated the success of 632 students and recognized its own accomplishment of having graduated 20,000 students over the years.
CSM honored its graduates Friday, one day later than planned as the threat of inclement weather postponed the graduation.
“It’s frustrating to wake up in the morning and not see a single snowflake,” president of CSM Brad Gottfried said to those in attendance Friday night.
There were 632 candidates for graduation. The college awarded 565 associate degrees and 361 certificates. Not all graduates were at the ceremony.
Melissa Grippo of La Plata received her associate degree in information systems security.
Grippo said she was pleased with the knowledge and support she gained from CSM and will continue her education at the University of Maryland University College and work at the IT Services help desk at CSM.
Rami Essa of Waldorf and Alyshia Bradley of Lusby earned degrees in theater.
Both said CSM was a great experience and starting point for college.
“Just get the big toe in the real world and when you’re ready, you’ll be fine to jump right in,” Bradley said.
Guest speaker Dr. Romergryko G. Geocadin, an associate professor of neurology, anesthesiology — critical care, neurosurgery and medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, told students of his journey in education that began in the Philippines. His struggle to succeed when not all the doors were open to him is not unusual.
Geocadin said he believed that the world is open to graduates, that the opportunities are there and that CSM has prepared its students ensuring “a promising future.”
He encouraged students to continue on their journeys, saying it won’t always be easy and nice, but they have to be ready.
When there is a line for opportunities and research, he said “avoid the longer line; go with the shorter line or the no line. Then, you make your own line,” he said.
The youngest student to graduate, Gottfried said, was 18; the oldest was 63.
Michael Luginbill of Leonardtown was recognized as the oldest. He went back to school to learn more about business administration to help him in his work as a social worker.
Luginbill said he went back for a business degree and, while he was at CSM, decided he would like to learn more about the trombone, an instrument he was already playing.
He began playing with the CSM band, Solid Brass, and taking music classes, which earned him a degree in music along with a degree in business administration.
He said he enjoyed his experience at CSM.
“I found I was able to relate with everybody, even high schoolers,” he said.
He said going back to school was a balancing act, with school, family and work, but he was able to get it done.
Alisa Cases, of California, Md., like Luginbill and many others, went back to school at a later age to further her career.
She said CSM has a vast amount of courses both at school and online that she was able to work into her schedule, which included working full time and raising a family.
“When it’s the right time in your life, just add it into your schedule,” she said.
Student speaker Aleigha Hammons encouraged students to continue to take risks and to think broadly and confidently.
Each graduate who opted to walk across the stage during graduation seemed to do so with confidence.
A small break in the action midway through roll call indicated that CSM was about to hit a milestone.
Bertha Rodrigues walked across the stage not only for her degree, but also as the representative of all 20,000 graduates to have come across the stage in the school’s 55-year history.
As she prepares to enter the real world, Hammons had one last thing to say to fellow graduates:
“From one graduate to another, may the very best be yours, now and always.”