MCC Commencement X 2: Revisiting the Class of 2023's big day in quotes and photos
Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Cable Dahmer Arena (second year there) | 1 & 6 p.m. (MCC's first time offering two ceremonies) | Grads participating: 865 (363 at 1 p.m.; 502 at 6) | Audience: about 2,700 at 1 p.m.; 3,700 at 6 | Size of Class of 2023: about 2,000
"The past couple of years have presented immense challenges we couldn’t have expected, but we have watched you endure and thrive."
— MCC-Maple Woods President Larry Rideaux Jr. to the graduating class. He then introduced his three fellow campus presidents, two of whom read the poem "Don’t Quit" by M. Tarun Prasad.
"You might think that those who’ve stumbled often would have trouble getting anywhere, whether it’s in life or just crossing the street. But in my experience, as someone who has spent as much if not more time stumbling than stepping, hear me when I say that you aren't any less worthy of the journey. What matters is that you keep moving forward … scraped knees, bruised elbows and all."
— 1 p.m. student speaker Thomas Creach of MCC-Penn Valley
The MCC Wolf greeting family members and friends of the graduates
“MCC is your community college. So what does that mean for the Class of 2023? It means we have mothers and fathers who are raising a family, working at least one job and going to school. Anybody in this class meet that criteria? Stand up!”
— Chancellor Kimberly Beatty, also recognizing adults coming to MCC for new training, high school students earning their MCC diploma, Missouri A+ scholarship students, and those who wanted to stay close to home before transferring to another college or preparing to enter the workforce. Each group was asked to rise.
A new grad crossing the commencement stage pauses for a photo with the chancellor.
“I saw some friends last night at another graduation, and their son’s graduating here this afternoon. They told me to keep it very brief, because nobody wants to hear from a board of trustees.”
— Trent Skaggs, president of the MCC Board of Trustees, who went on to express how proud the board is of the 2023 grads’ accomplishments
Stacks of diploma covers wait to be handed out on the Cable Dahmer stage.
“I have a quick question for you. Just a quick show of hands (from friends and family) — how many of you have taken at least one class at a Metropolitan Community College campus? … Fantastic! That is fantastic.”
— Bret Bonge, MCC Foundation board chair, who added that MCC has thousands of alumni doing great work and making the Kansas City area a better place to live
“Congratulations on your accomplishment. Don’t let anyone diminish your accomplishment, but look to what you want to do and what you want to achieve with the degree that you now have in hand. The sky’s the limit for you.”
— 2023 MCC Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Jon Stephens of Port KC (seen here embracing Dr. Beatty, with Foundation board chair Bret Bonge at right), in a short video shown at the 1 p.m. ceremony. >> Watch it
“No matter what hardships you face, or how rough things may feel to you, no matter if it feels like the world is pushing against you, if you don’t give up and keep pushing back, through diligence and determination you can accomplish anything and be who you want to be. And therefore I would like to challenge all of us to strive for unreachable goals, as those goals almost certainly turn out to be within reach.”
— 6 p.m. student speaker Aden Bakken of MCC-Online
“Some of you all have some really, really nice caps. I was admiring them as you were walking by. … (But) if you’re not comfortable tossing it (in the air), you can just give it a nice little nod.”
— MCC Trustee Jermaine Reed, master of ceremonies, introducing a countdown to the cap toss at the end
“What I remember most about MCC was the family that I built here. … TRIO (Project Success) really was another part of the warmness that I received while being on campus. They were part of helping me make my dreams a reality. Thank you, MCC.”
— 2023 MCC Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Fahteema Parrish of Parrish & Sons Construction (center, with Dr. Beatty and the Foundation's Bret Bonge), in a video shown at the 6 p.m. ceremony. >> Watch it
“Chancellor Beatty, I have the honor of presenting to you, for the conferring of degrees and certificates, the students of the Metropolitan Community College Graduating Class of 2023. … These students have diligently persisted in the pursuit of learning, and the College faculty join me in recommending them to you.”
— Sue Gochis, vice chancellor for instruction
“By virtue of the authority vested in me by the statutes of the state of Missouri and the policies of the Board of Trustees of Metropolitan Community College, I hereby confer upon each of you the appropriate degree or certification with all attendant rights and privileges. Congratulations!”
— A line delivered by Chancellor Beatty to enthusiastic applause
| An MCC TikTok video of happy grads showing off their mortarboard decorations.
>> Watch it on YouTube
| Lots more great commencement photos on Flickr
| PDF of the printed commencement program (with all the graduates' names, speaker and honoree bios and more)
Photos by Clay Bussey, Sydney Garner, Lisa Kalell and Mary Beth Hope/MCC
Text by Tim Engle/MCC