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News Release
Media Advisory: Mother-and-daughter duo headline PCC's commencement - 06/10/19


PORTLAND, Ore. – This year, Portland Community College’s 57th commencement ceremony is about more than simply earning a degree. It’s about a symbolic celebration of how PCC graduates are building the workforce.

Commencement starts at 7 p.m., Friday, June 14 in the Memorial Coliseum, 300 N. Winning Way. On hand will be more than 1,000 graduates, who will walk across the coliseum stage to receive their associate degree or certificate. For further details, visit https://www.pcc.edu/commencement/


Community colleges like PCC are the economic engine for the region, providing not only educated residents but a trained workforce to fill the skills gap. In Oregon, 50 percent of all jobs are considered “middle skill jobs,” which means they require education beyond high school but not necessarily a four-year degree.

Out of the roughly 4,800 total degrees and certificates being awarded this year, more than 1,200 are short-term career technical education certificates.


The following featured students and graduates are available for interviews before and during commencement. If media are interested in attending and documenting any of these stories, contact us at (971) 722-4376 or email jghill@pcc.edu. We will arrange parking passes for media and connect them with graduates.

Media with branded vehicles can park at the coliseum in these yellow areas.


All in the Family: Margarita and Veyda Hernandez of Southeast Portland are graduating the same day. Mother Margarita, a PCC grad, will receive her master’s degree at Portland State University in the afternoon and her daughter, Veyda, will accept her associate degree from PCC in the evening. The day symbolizes their escape from domestic abuse, overcoming an uncertain immigration status, and discovering their passions through education.

Read: https://www.pcc.edu/news/2019/06/all-in-the-family/

The Ultimate Comeback: From near death to becoming a PCC graduate in maritime welding, commencement student speaker Jess Kurtz epitomizes words like miracle, superstar and success. A scooter accident left Kurtz with a crushed skull, fighting for her life. Several surgeries later, coupled with much reflection throughout, Kurtz recovered and decided to re-imagine her career. She entered PCC’s Welding Technology Program, is now graduating with a sparkling 3.87 GPA, and has a full-time job as a welder for Vigor Industrial.

Read: https://www.pcc.edu/news/2019/05/jess-kurtz/

Overcoming Cancer: Eric Pennella of Southeast Portland isn’t letting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stop him from an education. Pennella started the one-year Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) certificate three weeks after finishing chemotherapy. Pennella has earned his CADD certificate and will be able to find an entry-level job, using it as a stepping stone to enter Portland State University’s Mechanical Engineering Program.

Read: https://www.pcc.edu/news/2019/04/eric-pennella/

From Dropouts to Ophthalmic Grads: Broussard and Thornton are Northeast Portland graduates of the Ophthalmic Medical Technology Program. Both were high school dropouts, juggling duties of young parenthood while holding down full-time jobs. Now equipped with specialized training, workers like Broussard and Thornton are in demand as the population ages.

Read: https://www.pcc.edu/news/2019/02/ophthalmic-medical-technology/


About Portland Community College: Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 71,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, eight education centers or areas served, and approximately 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning.


Visit PCC news on the web at http://news.pcc.edu/

View more news releases from PCC.