Commencement 2024 Recap

Highlighting CCA’s 2024 Commencement from 5/4/24. Go forward, foxes!

Video by: Dept. of Strategic Communications

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The Community College of Aurora (CCA) sent off the graduating class of 2024 with a celebration marked by milestones and memories for the school’s 40th commencement ceremony

Saturday, May 4 marked the end of some chapters, and the beginning of new ones for hundreds of students as they graduated from CCA. Though the early May day was chilly, families, friends and supporters didn’t let that stop them from celebrating the accomplishments of their graduates, who marked the end of their community college careers by earning their degrees and certificates. 

There were plenty of accomplishments to celebrate this year. More than 700 students were awarded their associate degree, while more than 400 earned a certificate. CCA is regarded as a place where students of all ages and backgrounds come to embark on their educational journey, and that was evident by the contrasts in this year’s graduating class. This year’s graduates included a 70-year-old, and a 16-year-old, highlighting CCA’s commitment to providing equitable education to the community of Aurora. 

The celebration capped off a monumental year for the college, as it celebrated its 40th anniversary. Under the leadership of President Dr. Mordecai Brownlee, the school has seen immense growth, including several initiatives and projects that are bringing CCA into the modern era. In his address to the graduating class, Dr. Brownlee emphasized the school’s mission of providing people with the means to access an affordable education, with the goal of bettering their lives for themselves and their families. 

Dr. Brownlee said, “For 40 years, the Community College of Aurora has ignited the minds and nurtured dreams of over 178,000 students. This year’s commencement was a celebration of our legacy and a testament to our institution’s relentless pursuit of advancing social and economic mobility for our diverse communities.”

This year the school itself achieved many of its goals, including beginning construction of the 

Center for STEM, Power Mechanics and Applied Technologies building, which will be home to CCA’s technical and career programs that will prepare students for future well-paying careers in fields like clean energy, construction, digital technologies and more. The Center is expected to be completed by the fall of 2025. 

In addition, this fall the school will offer the Cadet Program, in partnership with the Aurora Police Department (APD), which will provide a path for students to establish careers in law enforcement with the APD, which will allow them to serve the community of Aurora. 

As the school has outgrown its early moniker of the “College Without Walls,” the past year has been filled with moments of gratefulness and nostalgia, including the 40th anniversary celebration in 2023, which brought together students, faculty, staff, community leaders and members and many others to highlight the college’s many accomplishments over the years. 

Over its 40 year history, the school has awarded more than 23,000 degrees and certificates to its students. 

Dra. Reyna Anaya, Senior Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Student Success shared her thoughts saying, “For students, commencement is a celebration of much more than completion of a degree or certificate. It’s about being the first in your family to graduate from college and fulfilling a dream that can positively change your family’s economic and social mobility. It’s about modeling the delicate balance of being a parent and a student and succeeding, all while involving your kids in each step of your journey. And, it’s about having the courage to enter a college classroom as a high school student or an adult learner with the desire to learn and pave a path for those that come after you. Commencement is all of our student stories and experiences celebrated in one day. And, I feel so honored to lead a division that intentionally and holistically guides students in fulfilling their “why” through their success at the Community College of Aurora.” 

During his address to students at commencement, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman reiterated that he has proclaimed May 20th as “Community College of Aurora Day,” praising the college for its efforts in revitalizing the communities and creating equitable access to the educational needs of  the area. You can begin your own journey at CCA by clicking HERE and enrolling today. Learn more about what CCA has to offer by clicking HERE.

Photos by: CCA Dept. of Strategic Communications