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Foundation Update June 2023

Congratulations To Our Graduates

Nothing kicks off the summer like a graduation and our District pulls out all the stops! Check out some of the ceremonies that took place in celebration of our students and their amazing accomplishments.

A Commencement to Remember at Phoenix College The roar of the crowd joined the thump of the electronic bass in a laser light show that followed the awarding of degrees to over 1,000 Phoenix College (PC) graduates and their families, who filled the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday, May 12, 2023. As students streamed out of the coliseum in bright blue robes and caps flanked by PC faculty and administrators, many stopped to high-five, fist-bump, or hug a professor who nurtured their journey toward a college degree. 

The evening included a performance by PC’s Mariachi Band, Osos de Valle, that had students dancing in the aisles. The ensemble performed Las Abajeñas by Cuarteto Cuculense. Played to move you and instill emotion–joy, anger, desolation, rebellion–the Mexican mariachi music brought one brave graduate out of his row and chair to step onto the coliseum floor, stomping his heels to the romping rhythm and swinging his arms to the harmonies, in a gesture of pure joy. Read more.

17-Year-Old EMCC Student Shines at EMCC Graduation and Gains International Attention People who attended Estrella Mountain Community College’s (EMCC) graduation ceremony on May 12 enjoyed 17-year-old Tristan Andrade’s rendition of the National Anthem. What many might not have known is that he graduated with his high school diploma and three associate degrees that night, one in AI, one in computer science, and one in math thanks to EMCC’s concurrent enrollment program.

Over the past couple of weeks, Tristan’s story has been gaining local, national, and even international attention. During interviews, Tristan sings the praises of his faculty, EMCC’s support staff, and his classmates who welcomed him for all their help in preparing him to take on his next challenge at Arizona State University.

Thanks to coverage like his recent Good Morning America Online interview, EMCC has been receiving calls from parents and students all across the U.S. interested in early enrollment options at EMCC. Additional calls are expected with his upcoming ABC 15 and NBC News Daily interviews.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College Celebrates Diverse Group of Grads On Friday, May 12, 2023, Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) celebrated the Class of 2023. This commencement class consisted of 739 graduates earning 750 degrees.

President Greg Peterson expressed the college’s pride in this class. “Impressively, the youngest graduate is 16, with 3 graduates being dual-enrolled high school students,” he said, “and the oldest graduate is 55-years-young.” In addition, Dr. Peterson noted the community service completed by the graduates, with over 10,510 hours of service provided, noting that, “This is just one example of how the class of 2023 is poised to change the world.” There were also 34 veterans among CGCC’s graduates.

These grads also performed very well academically during their time at the college. This year, 116 graduates received scholarships, 102 are honor students, and 314 students received academic distinctions by graduating with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.  Read more.


Taking Our Show On The Road 

We may be in the full swing of summer, but the higher temperatures have not slowed down our involvement in the community.  Here are just a couple of highlights from some of the events that we’ve participated in over the past few weeks:

Paradise Valley Community College’s (PVCC) Out of the Darkness Walk:  PVCC took a significant step towards promoting mental health and suicide prevention by hosting its inaugural suicide prevention walk in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The event, held on April 29, 2023, witnessed an overwhelming response from students and the community as individuals came together to raise awareness and create a safe space for those who struggle to find the assistance they need. A highlight of the event was a thought-provoking keynote address delivered by Brian Spicker, President and CEO of the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, that shed light on the significance of suicide prevention and the importance of community involvement in combating this critical issue.

Foundation Board Retreat: The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Board of Directors came together on May 24, 2023 for a strategic planning retreat, held at the Helios Education Campus. In addition to the planning session, information from the District was shared as well as various other Foundation program updates and initiatives.




Showcasing Our Success

The Foundation’s 2021-2022 annual report is now available! Click here to read how, together, we achieved a high water mark in scholarships and program support over the past year. Highlights of the report include a recap of our scholarships and basic needs support as well as an overview of the transformative gifts that we’ve received from Wells Fargo, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Bank of America that are making an exponential impact on our students and community.  We also highlight some of our workforce partnerships including the PepsiCo Foundation, State Farm, and the PNC Foundation, all of which play a vital role in strengthening Arizona’s economy and change lives through education.

Scholarship Recipient Is Bringing Empathy
To Social Work

Twenty-two-year-old Marcelina Regalado, a recipient of the Diane H. Thomas Scholarship, has an old soul. From a young age, she would sit and observe people. During those observations, she realized their environment had a lot of influence on how they acted.

A 2019 graduate of Bioscience High School, Marcelina began her studies in nursing at Phoenix College (PC) because she heard it was a good program and seemed like a stable career. But during the pandemic, she reflected on her educational pursuits, social issues, and how our government handled the pandemic. “People were losing their jobs, families were being kicked out of their homes, the cost of living was going up,” she said. By her third semester, she realized social work made her soul thrive with hands-on community work and history lessons. Read Marcelina’s full story, here.

The Diane H. Thomas Scholarship provides $10,000 to attend a four-year college or university. During her long and distinguished career, Ms. Thomas worked as a commercial photographer, television personality, small business owner, arbiter for the Better Business Bureau, author, college instructor and more. She authored and published nearly a dozen books and wrote many more articles which appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times, McCall’s and Better Homes & Gardens to Real West and Old Cars magazine. Her legacy includes endowed scholarships at Phoenix College and Glendale Community College.  To learn more, click here.

Additional Bachelor’s Degrees In Development

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has selected its next round of baccalaureate degrees for development in accordance with Arizona State Legislature in Senate Bill 1453 (SB 1453).

Pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and MCCCD Governing Board, Maricopa Community Colleges plans to offer additional bachelor’s degrees in Fall 2024 and Fall 2025.

Fall 2024:
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), RN-BSN: GateWay Community College

Fall 2025:
Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting: Paradise Valley Community College
Bachelor of Business Administration, Management: Scottsdale Community College
Bachelor of Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning: Chandler-Gilbert Community College

“We are hoping to expand our current selection of bachelor’s degree programs to better serve incoming and returning students,” said MCCCD Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “Data shows that 73% of those inquiring about our new bachelor’s degree programs are current or former Maricopa students. We are committed to creating affordable pathways for students who want to continue within our System and earn a bachelor’s degree, and our proposed program offerings for Fall 2024 and 2025 will do just that.”

Read more.

Chancellor Honored as “Export Champion of the Year”

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is proud to announce Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, MCCCD Chancellor, has been named the 2023 “Export Champion of the Year” by City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. The prestigious award is presented to business and community leaders who have made significant contributions to promoting global trade for the Phoenix economy.

Dr. Gonzales was honored during the annual Global Links Business luncheon hosted by Mayor Gallego and Phoenix Sister Cities, an organization that fosters relationships with municipalities around the world. Mayor Gallego praised Dr. Gonzales for the success of “Route to Relief,” a partnership between the System and the City of Phoenix that utilizes the City’s federal pandemic relief dollars to provide free tuition, monthly stipends, and employment assistance to eligible city residents. Since the program’s launch, over 400 students have been enrolled at one of the System’s ten colleges.

“No one is more deserving of the Export Champion Award this year than Dr. Steven Gonzales. As the Valley continues breaking records of exponential growth, shaping and nurturing the workforce of the future isn’t easy — but it is growing more important every day, especially as we work to become a major semiconductor manufacturing hub. Dr. Gonzales and I share our vision of a community where an economy in which great jobs are just a training or a course away, and I am grateful that he is at the helm of the Maricopa County Community College District,” said Mayor Gallego.

Read the full story, here.

Support Student Success With a Future Gift

Are you considering including the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation in your estate plan?  Your generosity would provide high-quality, affordable options for higher education and workforce training.

To uncover the giving option that works best for your goals, click here.

You can also download a FREE personal Estate Planning Kit to help you organize your estate.  It will save you time, protect your assets and help you establish your legacy.