June 2016, Volume 20, Number 3


A Class of Game Changers

This spring at commencement ceremonies, the excitement flowed far beyond the packed auditoriums as 14,000 graduates received diplomas in five joyful celebrations. For their hard work, several received coveted Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarships, and many more are heading to top schools, including prestigious Ivy League universities such as Yale, Cornell and Columbia, to name a few.

Miami Dade College’s Class of 2016 truly represents the nation’s cultural salad bowl, with graduates speaking more than 90 languages and hailing from more than 190 countries. This year’s class is marked by active game changers, many already making a significant impact on their communities and intent on addressing the world’s most pressing issues through their varied pursuits, ranging from scientific research, health care and international relations to technology, entrepreneurship and business development. 

As in past MDC ceremonies with inspiring addresses from leaders such as U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, this year’s graduates were urged to improve the world. Here are some of those wise words from this year’s speakers.

Julián Castro
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Hialeah and Wolfson campuses
“I know that you draw strength from [your families] and from the rich heritage of the many nations that you represent. You brought that strength to Miami Dade College, a community where diversity and equality are celebrated. And your time here has made you even stronger. We know that from the incredible commitment that this class has shown to serving others, whether they are folks who’ve fallen on hard times here in Miami, or young orphans yearning for a better life in Nicaragua. We know that because some of the most important issues our nation faces, from tackling climate change to keeping guns off our campuses to fighting for the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender Americans, Miami Dade [College] students have lifted their voices and lent their values to the cause.”

Manuel “Manny” Medina
Founder, eMerge Americas and Medina Capital
Miami Dade College Alumnus
Homestead and InterAmerican campuses
“I wouldn’t be here today addressing you if it weren’t for Miami Dade College. I found an environment that was incredibly nurturing. I found … a different way of life that totally changed my life. … There is no secret to success. You’ve got to really be focused and work hard. You have to ask yourself: Am I going to live an almost life or an utmost life? The choice is clearly yours.”

Jean Monestime
Chairman, Miami-Dade County Commission
Miami Dade College Alumnus
North and West campuses
“I never miss an opportunity to say, ‘I am MDC.’ … Graduating from MDC was a stepping-stone for me. … Think of your degree as a passport to a life of learning.  Embrace each day to learn. [The] best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. This allows you to connect with others of similar interest.  Through this network you will find your path. … [As a colleague said], I started as a boat refugee but today I am captain of the ship. You, too, can become ship captain.”

Javier Palomárez
President & CEO, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kendall Campus
“In today’s increasingly competitive world, organizations like ours cannot open doors of opportunity for your generation unless our schools place a first-class education within reach. And by all measure, Miami Dade College has faithfully delivered on that commitment. … You’ve all accomplished something remarkable despite insurmountable odds, and you’ve done it together, as Sharks! So no matter what comes next, after today you will always be part of Miami Dade College, and it will always be a part of you.”

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution which does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, pregnancy, sexual orientation or genetic information. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577.