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News Release

Date: May 8, 2009
Media Contacts: Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Marcus Rosano, 240-567-4022

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Montgomery College to Celebrate Student Graduation on May 22
CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux to Deliver Commencement Address

Attention Editors: For high-resolution images to accompany this release, click here.


Montgomery College will celebrate its annual commencement festivities on Friday, May 22 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be held underneath an outdoor tent on the Rockville Campus athletic field, and will honor graduates from the College’s three campuses in Montgomery County, Md.—Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring—along with apprenticeship graduates in Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. More than 2,500 students have completed the requirements for associate’s degrees, apprenticeships or certificate programs during the past year and are eligible for graduation.

“The commencement ceremony celebrates the achievement and dedication of our students in reaching a pivotal educational goal,” said Dr. Brian K. Johnson, president of Montgomery College. “Montgomery College faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that our graduating students have the necessary education and skills they will need to succeed at four-year universities or in the workforce. I look forward to their futures with hope and confidence.”

CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux will deliver the commencement address. She covered the 2008 presidential election from the campaign trail for CNN. In advance of the national conventions, she reported a 90-minute documentary on then-Senator Barack Obama. She also questioned the candidates as a panelist at the Democratic presidential primary debate in January 2008.

Based in Washington, D.C., Malveaux joined the network in May 2002. She played a key role in CNN's 2004 and 2006 election coverage. She was also part of the network’s team that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the tsunami in Asia. Malveaux has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Four Montgomery College Students Selected to Address Fellow Students

During the commencement ceremony, four students will be recognized as the 2009 Board of Trustees Scholars and will address their fellow graduates. College officials select one scholar from each of the three campuses and an apprenticeship scholar representing the College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education to earn a cash award to be applied to future tuition or education. This year’s Board of Trustees Scholars are:

  • Douglas K. Baldwin – Workforce Development and Continuing Education
    With a 4.0 grade point average, Douglas Baldwin is completing a four-year apprenticeship as an HVAC technician with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Chapter, National Capital Chapter program at Montgomery College. Baldwin is employed by Shapiro and Duncan Mechanical Contractors in Rockville. He participated in the College’s “Endless Possibilities” marketing campaign, in which he appeared in radio, television, and newspaper advertising.
  • Courtney Joy Minard – Germantown Campus
    Courtney Joy Minard, a general studies major, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Home-schooled through high school, she took classes part time at Covenant Life School, where she played on the varsity soccer and basketball teams, and remains active in Covenant Life Church. She received a Board of Trustees Scholarship and plans to pursue a degree to become a physical therapist assistant.
  • Germaine Y. Nendah – Rockville Campus
    Germaine Nendah, a premedicine major, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. The Cameroon native has served as a student assistant in the dean’s office at the Rockville Campus and volunteers for Accessible Home Health Care and as a tutor at Beall Elementary School. In the fall, Nendah will attend Smith College on a full academic scholarship. She hopes to become a doctor. 
  • Awa A. Drame – Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus
    Awa Drame, a premedicine major with a minor in psychology, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Drame, a native of Côte d’Ivoire, has always aspired to become a physician. Her mother, a pediatrician, introduced her to the field of medicine. After graduation, Drame will be attending a summer internship in genetics at the University of Georgia.

Honorary Degrees Will Go to Dr. Donald Day, Dr. Karen Gruner, Mr. Douglas Firstenberg

Dr. Donald Day, along with his wife Dr. Karen Gruner, has been a generous benefactor to Montgomery College. Dr. Day is a professor emeritus in the Department of Physics and Engineering at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus. He continues to work part time at the College, advising and mentoring engineering students.

Since joining the College faculty in 1967, Dr. Day has been instrumental in developing and implementing dynamic and advanced physics and engineering courses and has served as the chair of the College’s Academic Assembly. He received a B.S. from MIT, an M.S. from University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. from The American University.

Dr. Day has become a beloved mentor to engineering students, helping them gain entry into some of the nation’s top engineering schools, including University of Maryland, George Washington University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Georgia Tech.

Dr. Karen Gruner is a high school physics, chemistry, and mathematics teacher. She has been in the classroom for 20 years, and teaches all levels of coursework.  After she received an A.A. from Montgomery College, she earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from University of Maryland. She enjoys farming and logging with draft horses and participates in the sustainable agriculture-slow food movement.

Together, Drs. Day and Gruner have demonstrated their commitment to Montgomery College by establishing both an annual scholarship fund and the Donald Day and Karen Gruner Endowed Scholarship. These scholarships will support students majoring in physics, engineering, or mathematics at Montgomery College and students in those disciplines who are transferring to complete their baccalaureate degrees. Drs. Day and Gruner, reside on a small farm in Ijamsville, Maryland.

Douglas M. Firstenberg is a founding principal of Stonebridge Associates, Inc., a real estate investment and management firm. He is widely recognized for his expertise in strategic planning, project conceptualization, and major transaction negotiation. He lives in Bethesda with his wife and three children.

Recently selected as chair of the Montgomery College Foundation Board of Directors, Firstenberg has worked toward the successful completion of a number of important Montgomery College initiatives. As the chair of the Foundation Board’s real estate and entrepreneurial committee, he helped with the bond financing for the purchase of the property that has since been transformed into The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center. He also has contributed to the Germantown Campus’s development project.
  
                                                    Montgomery College’s Commencement to be Shown on Cable

Families and friends of the graduates in Montgomery County can also watch the ceremony live on Montgomery College Television, cable channel 10. The ceremony will be podcast on the Montgomery College Web site beginning May 26.

For more information about the 2009 Commencement, visit: www.montgomerycollege.edu/commencement.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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