Orange Coast College will award 5,400 degrees, certificates at 71st commencement

Orange Coast College will confer more than 5,400 associates degrees and certificates of achievement at the College’s 71st commencement ceremony, scheduled for Friday, May 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Several thousand people are expected to attend the program at the OC Fairground’s Pacific Amphitheatre (88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa).

Vice President of Research and Development and Principal Chef for Lazy Dog restaurants Gabriel Caliendo is OCC’s 2019 Alumni of the Year and will deliver a keynote speech. Caliendo – who both studied and taught in OCC’s culinary arts program – spent years in the industry before returning to OCC to receive a formal education. He ended up earning certificates in Culinary Arts, Advanced Culinary Arts, and Restaurant Management and Catering.

“I consider my experience at Orange Coast College to be so important to my career and my personal growth over the years,” says Caliendo. ”I worked so hard to attend classes and complete the program while holding down multiple jobs. It was a very stressful and fast-paced time in my life, and I would not trade it for anything. Fast forward to today and I’m again humbled by the decision to award me with an Alumni of the Year designation. It means a lot to me and I am very grateful to continue my professional and personal experience with OCC.”

OCC’s Student Speaker is psychology major Abigail Hill, who will be transferring to Vanguard University this summer. Hill — a 42-year-old mother of two — will have a simple message for graduates: “it’s never too late to go back to school.”

Hill also will extend her sincere gratitude to the faculty and staff who helped her achieve her educational goals. “The faculty and staff at OCC are so encouraging and supportive that they make the journey that much easier and worth it,” she says. “I will take away three great years of learning, growth, struggle and balance. I truly feel OCC has set me up for success in my next chapter.”

OCC will provide a live streaming of the ceremony at www.orangecoastcollege.edu/gradvideo.
Tickets are not required to attend the commencement ceremony, and there is no limit to the number of guests graduates may invite to the program. Parking is available through Gate 3 on Fairview Road.

Guests who need physical assistance or seating accommodations should arrive at least 45 minutes early to receive assistance from OCC staff members. Strollers are not permitted in the seating areas or aisles of the Amphitheatre.

Evenings can be alternately sunny and chilly, so attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately. Sunscreen is recommended.

This article was released by Orange Coast College.