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For Immediate Release (01-36)
Date: May 1, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College Kicks Off County Graduation Season With May 18 Collegewide Commencement at Rockville Campus
Ceremony Honors Community College Graduates From All Campuses; UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski is Commencement Speaker

Montgomery College -- Maryland's largest and oldest community college, with campuses at Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park -- will kick off the annual graduation season in Montgomery County, with its collegewide 2001 Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 18, 10 a.m., at the Rockville Campus. The festivities will take place under a tent on the football field, rain or shine.

Students from the College’s three campuses and apprenticeship graduates from the College's Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs and the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education will participate in the commencement ceremony to receive their associate's degrees or certificates.

"Montgomery College serves one in four of all county school students directly out of high school and has a student body even more diverse than the county itself, with students of all ages and from as many as 170 different nations," said Dr. Charlene R. Nunley, president of Montgomery College. "Our annual commencement festivities give us an opportunity to honor and showcase the success of all of these students. We invite the community to join us in this wonderful celebration of the achievements of our students and our entire institution."

Charter Class of 'Montgomery Scholars' Among the 2001 Graduates

One particular highlight this year will be the graduation of the charter class of "Montgomery Scholars," a group of 24 high-achieving honors students who were the first to be selected for entry into this highly competitive program, aimed at attracting many of the county's best and brightest high school graduates. Each of the scholars was awarded a full, two-year scholarship to Montgomery College and given the opportunity to participate in a summer study program abroad at Cambridge University in England. Now, they will be transferring with top academic credentials to a variety of outstanding four-year universities and colleges.

In addition, the second class of top honors business students from the College's Gordon and Marilyn Business Institute will also be among the most distinguished 2001 graduates. Each of the students selected into this highly competitive program was awarded with a full scholarship for his or her sophomore year and placed into a paid internship with a prominent area employer. Most of these graduates will be transferring to the highly regarded Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, and other top business schools.

UMBC President, Author Freeman Hrabowski to Address 2001 Class

Montgomery College's 2001 commencement speaker will be Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, a nationally recognized and often honored leader in higher education, who has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992. Dr. Hrabowski was instrumental in forming the Governor's Academy for Mathematics, Science and Technology. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with a special emphasis on issues involving minority participation. He is the co-author of two books, Beating the Odds, which focuses on parenting high-achieving African American males and Overcoming the Odds, which focuses on successful African American females in science. 

Among the hundreds of graduates, Montgomery College's Board of Trustees will especially honor four students for their stellar academic achievements -- including one from each of the three campuses and one from the Gudelsky Institute. These students, to be named prior to commencement, will each be presented with a Board of Trustees Scholar Award and a $500 award to continue their education.

Honorary Degrees to be Awarded to Roscoe Nix and John Fitzgerald

The Board of Trustees will also bestow honorary degrees of Associate of Arts in Public Service on two distinguished Montgomery County residents, including:

  • Roscoe R. Nix, a former elected member of the Montgomery County Board of Education and a prominent community leader for the past three decades. He recently served as the chair of the College's Council for the 21st Century task force, which worked to identify the challenges and opportunities affecting the future of the college and to help shape its mission and goals for the years ahead. Mr. Nix enjoyed a 10-year tenure as president of the Montgomery County chapter of the NAACP, where the Roscoe Nix Scholarship has been established in his honor. He was also co-founder of the Montgomery County African-American Family Festival of Academic Excellence. A former associate director of community relations for the United States Department of Justice, Mr. Nix has been a panelist for many years on "21 This Week," a current affairs program which airs on The Montgomery Channel, cable channel 21.
  • John J. "Jack" Fitzgerald, primary owner of the Gaithersburg-based Fitzgerald Automotive Group. A member of Montgomery College's first capital campaign committee, when the College launched a private fundraising effort in support of its creation of the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education, Mr. Fitzgerald and his company continue to be major supporters of the Gudelsky Institute and its automotive programs. Mr. Fitzgerald and the Fitzgerald Automotive Group, working in partnership with the Montgomery County SAFE KIDS Coalition since 1999, have championed a program to ensure the proper installation of child safety seats in as many cars occupied by young children, as possible. Last December, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan honored Mr. Fitzgerald for having recorded his company's 10,000th child safety seat inspection.

A third honorary degree will be bestowed on Dr. Hrabowski, in recognition of his service as the commencement speaker. 

Ceremony to be Televised Live on Montgomery College Cable

Montgomery College's 2001 Commencement will be televised live on the Montgomery College Channel (channel 10 for Comcast digital upgrade subscribers; or channel 51/cable ready 3 for all other Comcast digital subscribers).

Montgomery College enrolls more than 20,000 full-time and part-time students each year in credit programs at its three campuses and another 20,000-plus continuing education students in non-credit programs at various sites around the county.

Montgomery College's Rockville Campus is located at 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville. Ample parking is available on site for those attending the ceremony and the campus, located about one mile north of the Rockville Metro Station, is also served by a variety of Metrobus and Ride On routes.

For more information about the 2001 Commencement, log on to the Montgomery College Commencement Website or call the Office of Student Life at 240-567-5092. To request accommodations or assistance needed to fully participate in the event, please contact the Office of Disability Support Services at 240-567-5058 (TTY: 301-294-9672).

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