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Santa Monica College's Largest Class Ever to Graduate Tuesday
By Lookout Staff
June 6, 2019 -- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will address the largest graduating class in Santa Monica College history at the school's 89th commencement ceremony Tuesday.
More than 750 of the graduates are expected to take part in the ceremony at 6 p.m. at Corsair Field on SMC’s main campus, where 9,110 degrees and certificates will be awarded to 5,905 students.
The two youngest graduates are 17 and the oldest is 84, school officials said.
The graduating class includes 24 graduates who will be awarded Bachelor of Science in Interaction Design degrees, marking the second class in SMC’s history to graduate with a BA degree.
Commencement speaker Padilla was elected as California Secretary of State in 2014, becoming the first Latino elected to the post.
Since his election, he "has been committed to modernizing the office, increasing voter registration and participation, and protecting voting rights," college officials said.
Under his watch, California reached a record 20 million registered voters in March.
Prior to his election as Secretary of State in 2018, Padilla served eight years on the State Senate, where he "authored legislation to improve the community college transfer process," SMC officials said.
He also successfully authored legislation on telecommunications, broadband deployment, energy and energy efficiency, grid modernization, education, job creation, environmental protection, food safety and seismic safety, officials said.
The son of immigrants -- his father worked as a short-order cook for 40 years while his mother cleaned houses -- Padilla attended Los Angeles public schools.
He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in mechanical engineering.
In 1999, at the age of 26, he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in the district where he grew up.
Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC’s Superintendent/President, praised Padilla for "an inspiring personal life story, a record of striving for innovation and change, and a dedication to enhancing the pathway to higher education and expanding opportunities for community college students.
"Secretary Padilla’s presence and message will have a special resonance for our graduates, who come from many diverse backgrounds,” Jeffery said.
For the tenth year in a row, the ceremony will be webcast live and available on the college’s website (smc.edu).
"Families and friends worldwide who are not able to attend graduation will be able to watch the ceremony and see the graduates receive their diplomas," college officials said.
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