News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

For Immediate Release (03-44)
Date: May 12, 2003
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952
Montgomery College to Celebrate 
2003 Commencement on May 23
More than 1,400 Graduates Reflect Community College’s Unique Diversity;
College-wide Ceremony at Rockville Honors Graduates from All Campuses

Montgomery College—Maryland’s oldest and most culturally diverse community college—will celebrate its 56th Annual Commencement on Friday, May 23, 10 a.m.  The community college will honor more than 1,400 graduates from its three campuses—at Rockville, Germantown, and Takoma Park—along with apprenticeship graduates in Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. Students participating in the commencement are those who have completed associate degrees, apprenticeships or certificate programs. 

The commencement will be held, rain or shine, at the Rockville Campus underneath a tent that spans the length of the football field. 

“For students, commencement marks the culmination of years of hard work,” said Montgomery College President Charlene R. Nunley. “Many of these students have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to get to this point in their educational pursuit. Graduation day is a time of immense pride and celebration for each of the students and their families, and for all us in the Montgomery College community.”

During the ceremony, four students in particular will be recognized as the 2003 Board of Trustees Scholars. College officials select one scholar from each of the three campuses and an apprenticeship scholar representing the Gudelsky Institute for Technical Education and the College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education division. This year’s Board of Trustees Scholars are:

  • Craig A. Williams – Workforce Development and Continuing Education

  • Almost 20 years ago, Williams moved from Jamaica to the United States with his parents. He says his parents’ hard work and determination taught him that anything was possible, including the American dream. At Montgomery College, he enrolled in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America apprenticeship program. As a result of his training, Mr. Williams is now employed by Presidential Heating and Air Conditioning, as well as the Heating and Cooling department at Home Depot.
  • Haniee Chung – Rockville Campus

  • Ms. Chung is president of the Student Senate, president of the Kappa Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and president of the Korean Club.  As a general studies major, Ms. Chung graduates with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Recently, she was named a member of the USA Today’s 2003 All-Maryland First Academic Team and a USAA Collegiate All-American Scholar. Born in Seoul, Korea, Ms. Chung now resides in Rockville, Maryland.  In her spare time, she plays lead violin at her church. She plans to continue her education at Georgetown University. In the future, Ms. Chung wants to lead medical missions into North Korea. 
  • Carine Nadem – Germantown Campus

  • Originally from Cameroon, Ms. Nadem left friends and family behind in 1998 for better educational opportunities in America. A pre-med major, she joined the inaugural class of Montgomery College’s selective Biomedical Scholars program and maintained a 4.0 GPA through graduation. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a member of USA Today’s 2003 All-Maryland First Academic Team and the recipient of a 2003 Jack Kent Cook Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship for her next two years at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
  • Nkedilim Oraegbu– Takoma Park Campus 

  • A business major, Ms. Oraegbu graduates with a 3.95 grade point average.  She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the National Dean’s List. At Montgomery College, Ms. Oraegbu received the Harry Harden, Jr. Black and African American Achievement Award. She finished her studies in December 2002 and transferred to the University of Maryland. 

Montgomery College Welcomes Former 
Energy Secretary as Keynote Speaker

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O’Leary will deliver the keynote address at this year’s commencement. She will share with students the wisdom she gained from her experience as the nation’s seventh Secretary of Energy. O’Leary served from 1993 to 1997 during President Bill Clinton’s tenure in the White House.

After working for the President, O’Leary became president of an energy consulting firm, O’Leary & Associates Inc. Currently, she is chief operating officer of Blaylock & Partners LP, a New York-based full-service investment firm.  She assists the firm with mergers and acquisitions interests, especially those in energy-related businesses. 

Honorary Degrees Will Go to Thomas Ladd, 
Paul Peck and Posthumously to Dr. John Diggs

To pay tribute to several long-time benefactors, Montgomery College will present them with honorary degrees during the 56th Annual Commencement ceremony on May 23.  This year’s recipients are Dr. John W. Diggs, Thomas E. Ladd and Paul L. Peck. 

Dr. John W. Diggs will receive his honorary degree posthumously. His death in May of 1995 was and continues to be a tremendous loss to Montgomery College. Dr. Diggs served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1995. His professional career began at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, working as a scientist. Over the years, he served as director of the Division of Extramural Activities in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and deputy director for extramural research at NIH. After leaving NIH, Dr. Diggs worked at the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

Thomas E. Ladd is senior vice president of government affairs at Marriott International, Inc. He has been a longtime advocate and supporter of Montgomery College, serving as a board member of the Montgomery College Foundation.  In 2000, Mr. Ladd was instrumental in securing a $1 million gift from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation to the College’s hospitality management program. For the past 10 years, he has helped organize the Montgomery College Foundation’s Golf Classic and served as the tournament’s lead sponsor.

Paul L. Peck has a long history of supporting higher education. In Arlington, Virginia, he helps African-American high school students afford college with grant-in-aid scholarships from his STAR Scholarship Foundation. He has contributed more than $3 million to Montgomery College, in support of the arts and humanities, including the College’s largest-ever individual contribution of $1.3 million. His support helped establish the Paul Peck Humanities Institute, which includes a unique partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. The Art Building on the College’s Rockville Campus was renamed in Mr. Peck’s honor.

A fourth honorary degree will be presented to Hazel O’Leary, in appreciation for her commencement address.

Montgomery College’s Commencement 
to be Webcast and Shown on Cable

Montgomery College will broadcast its 2003 Commencement live on the Internet on Friday, May 23. Families and friends of the graduates can simply log on to the Montgomery College Web site to watch the day’s festivities unfold. Cable television viewers in Montgomery County can also watch the ceremony, beginning with a pre-commencement show that will start at 9:30 a.m., on Montgomery College Television, cable channel 10.

For more information about the 2003 Commencement or to find out how to view its Webcast, log on to the Montgomery College Web site at and look under “Hot Topics,” or call the Montgomery College Special Events Office at 240-567-7489. To request accommodations or assistance needed to participate fully in the event, contact the Office of Disability Support Services at 240-567-5058; TTY: 301-294-9672.

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