As one of the most exciting academic years in San Bernardino Valley College’s history comes to a close, the campus reflects on the many milestones that were achieved by students, faculty, classified professionals and administrators this year. A significant increase in staffing levels and student enrollment during the 2017-18 academic year allowed the college to provide more services to students than before, resulting in one of the largest graduating classes the college has had in its 91-year history.

Not only will the Class of 2018 be remembered for its high transfer rate, but also for an impressive number of associate’s degrees awarded to students, with a 48% increase over the prior year. In total, 1,468 students received 2,056 degrees and certificates, with 55% of graduates being the first in their families to graduate from college, and 28 seniors from MCHS graduating concurrently with high school diplomas and associates degrees.

To celebrate its diversity of students, San Bernardino Valley College held several ceremonies for different ethnicities and social groups on campus in May leading up to its campus-wide commencement.

 The annual Black Graduate Recognition Celebration commemorated the many achievements of SBVC’s African  American students graduating this spring. In conjunction with  Commencement, the exciting event aimed to celebrate the culture, heritage, and accomplishments of our African American community on campus. As each student’s name was called, a colorful Kente stole was placed on their shoulders, serving as a visual representation of their cultural history. The Kente Ceremony allowed graduates to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of their ancestors, as well as to acknowledge the friends, family members, faculty, and classified professionals who have helped them achieve their goals.

 High school seniors from throughout the Inland Empire were invited to participate in the first-ever Inland Empire Asian-Pacific Islander High School Graduate Recognition Ceremony on May 11 at the SBVC Greek Theatre. The colorful celebration included live traditional Islander music, dance and  artistic performances. The participating students, who identify as Polynesian,  Micronesian, Melanesian and Filipinos that associate with being Asian-Pacific Islanders (API), received a certifi cate from a local assembly member and a Asian- Pacific Islander graduation sash. “We want to create an empowering event for our Pacific Islander youth in our community, by taking a day to celebrate each of them,” said Francine Blacksher, San Bernardino City Unifi ed School District faculty. She explained that Pacific Islander youth are often underserved and at risk for unsuccessful academic outcomes. The celebratory event was intended to recognize API students who have risen above academic challenges and encourage their transition into higher education.

 San Bernardino Valley College celebrated the many accomplishments of our Hispanic, Chicano, and Latino graduates during its annual Nuestra Graduación. This celebration, presented by the Latino Faculty, Staff & Administrators Association on campus, commemorated the achievements of the Latino Wolverines graduating in 2018. Many participants were fi rst-generation college students who, with the help of their family, peers and our faculty and staff , were able to achieve a milestone that past generations were unable to accomplish. As hundreds of friends and family watched from the steps of the Greek Theatre, graduates were each bestowed a colorful sarape stole to wear for the upcoming Commencement ceremony. Following the reception, students and their guests celebrated to the playful tunes of a traditional mariachi band performing live. The event aimed to allow students and their families to rejoice in their culture after overcoming many obstacles on their path to education. Congratulations, Wolverines!