NORWALK – For the fourth consecutive year, Cerritos College shattered its own graduation record, having certified the largest number of degrees and certificates awarded in the campus’ history.
During Commencement 2019its 61st annual commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 24, the College conferred more than 5,000 degrees and certificates. The Class of 2019 overwhelmingly surpassed last year’s record-breaking number of degrees and certificates by almost 1,500 awards.
The college also saw a 25 percent increase in awards to students who earned an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T/AS-T) from 2018 to 2019, with more than 1,300 degrees awarded. The AA-T/AS-T degree guarantees transfer admission to the California State University system.
Since its inception in 2012, more than 5,700 students have earned AA-T/AS-T degrees at Cerritos College. The College currently has 27 AA-T/AS-T degree programs.
Angelica Fregoso, a graduate of the record-breaking Class of 2019, is receiving an AA-T in psychology. She is part of the college’s Scholars’ Honors Program, and is transferring to UCLA. Through the honors program, Angelica participated in UCLA’s Community College to PhD Scholars Program, a seven-month research program.
In addition, Angelica will spend eight weeks at the University of Iowa completing its Summer Research Opportunity Program.
“I would not have the privilege to take advantage of these opportunities without the Scholars’ Honors Program, and for that, I am eternally grateful,” said Angelica. After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree, and become a psychology research professor in order to give back to her community by mentoring.
Eric Draper, former White House chief photographer for President George W. Bush, served as the 61st commencement speaker. A Cerritos College alumnus, Draper inspired graduates to find a purpose in life and challenged them to “never underestimate themselves, never be afraid to ask for what they want, and not let their fears hold them back.”
“The fact that our students are breaking graduation records year after year is unprecedented in our campus’ history, this shows their drive to succeed and the commitment of our faculty, staff, administrators, and everyone at Cerritos college who make our students’ education and success their number one priority,” said Dr. Jose Fierro, Cerritos College President/ Superintendent.
“I am extremely proud of our graduates. The majority of our students are first generation who come from underrepresented backgrounds. They face incredible obstacles every day and it is especially gratifying to see them rewarded for their perseverance,”
This year’s graduates will be transitioning to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities, including the University of La Verne, Loyola Marymount University, USC, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, among other schools.