skip to Main Content

Montgomery College to Celebrate Commencement Friday, May 23 The Honorable Valerie Ervin to Deliver Commencement Address

Montgomery College will celebrate its 67th commencement ceremony Friday, May 23 at 10 a.m. The event will honor graduates from the College’s three campuses in Montgomery County, Maryland – Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring – along with apprenticeship graduates in Workforce Development & Continuing Education programs. Of the more than 3,000 students who have completed graduation requirements for associate’s degrees, apprenticeships or certificates this academic year, more than 800 will participate in the ceremony, which will be held on the Rockville Campus athletic field. “This amazing academic year at Montgomery College has seen numerous academic award winners, prestigious scholarship winners and national athletic champions among our student body,” said Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, president of Montgomery College. “Friday’s commencement ceremony is the perfect opportunity to celebrate all of our students’ hard work and commitment in making their dreams a reality. I’m truly honored for the opportunity to shake the hands of our graduates and join in on the smiles that this day brings.” The commencement address will be delivered by the Honorable Valerie Ervin, executive director of the Center for Working Families and former Montgomery County Council president. Ervin served as chair of the Montgomery County Council’s Education Committee where she was an advocate for Montgomery College and its mission to provide post-secondary educational opportunities to students who are often the first in the families to attend college. Her work as a legislator focused on connecting government, business, education, and the safety net to serve the needs of all residents of the community. Her policy accomplishments include raising the minimum wage, expanding universal pre-kindergarten, establishing the nation’s first countywide food recovery network, increasing childcare subsidies, improving childhood nutrition, expanding universal breakfast programs, and developing models for closing the Achievement Gap. Ervin has received many awards for her public service including the Montgomery County Commission for Women’s Historical Archives Inductee, Washingtonian magazine’s Most Powerful Women Award, Maryland’s Top 100 Women from the Daily Record (2008 and 2012), the Phyllis Campbell Newsome Public Policy Leadership Award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (2008 and 2013), the John Greeley Award from Liberty’s Promise, and the Phenomenal Woman of the Year Award from Community Bridges.

Four Montgomery College Students Selected to Address Fellow Students

The commencement ceremony will also feature speeches by four graduating students who have been selected as the College’s Board of Trustees Scholars. The scholars, who earn an award for future tuition or educational costs, represent each of the three campuses and Workforce Development & Continuing Education. This year’s Board of Trustees Scholars are:

Casey Everette Barry, Workforce Development & Continuing Education Apprenticeship Scholar

Casey Barry is completing a four-year apprenticeship program as an HVACs technician. He is graduating with a 3.59 grade point average. He is enrolled in the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, national Capital Chapter (ACCA/NCC) program at the College. Barry currently serves as an operating building engineer for Jones Lange LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm specializing in commercial real estate services and investment management. A Frederick, Maryland native, Barry attended Frederick Community College after graduating high school. He earned an associate’s degree in business administration. After working at various jobs, he attended Stratford University, earning an AA in culinary arts and a BA in hospitality. He has three children and one grandchild.

Lisa S. Baughman, Germantown Campus Scholar

Lisa Baughman, a paralegal studies major, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. After many years as a stay at-home mom, volunteer, and community activist, she returned to school to prepare herself for a career. She chose the paralegal field to pursue her passion for advocacy of women and children. While studying at the College, she landed a position at a family law practice. Ms. Baughman is a court-appointed special advocate volunteer in Frederick County, where she is a voice for children in the foster care system. She is also a long-time board member of the Damascus y-Women, a local women’s civic group, which is part of the YWCA. In the fall, she will begin training to become a certified mediator. The combination of mediation and paralegal training will position her to provide a full range of advocacy services in a variety of settings.

Lacey A. Hornkohl, Rockville Campus Scholar

Lacey Hornkohl, a nursing major and a member of Phi theta Kappa, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Born in Colchester, Connecticut, she graduated with honors from Professional Children’s School in New York City while working as a professional actor in film, television, and on Broadway. Hornkohl has a long history of community service. As a performer, she participated in the March of Dimes and Muscular Dystrophy telethons. She is also active in animal charity work, fundraising for Broadway Barks, fostering homeless animals, and volunteering at the Washington Animal rescue league. She is one of 15 nursing students selected to participate in the prestigious Holy Cross Hospital Student Immersion Program. She is currently working on a fundraising project for Still Brave Childhood Cancer Foundation. After graduation, Ms. Hornkohl plans to continue her education in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a PhD.

Samuel C. Damesa, Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Scholar

Samuel Damesa is an international studies major and a member of Phi theta Kappa graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. He is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and immigrated to the US in 2010. A renaissance Scholars Honors Program member, he interned at the Library of Congress. He won a scholarship to study abroad in Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Damesa participated in the United Nations Security Council Model Program. He plans to complete a combined bachelor’s in international studies and master’s in public policy. After completing these degrees, he plans to continue his studies for a master’s in international affairs and a Juris doctor in international law.

Honorary Degrees to Ms. Judith A, Clark, Dr. and Mrs. Adi Shmueli, and Mr. Gustavo Torres; Ms. Ervin will Receive an Honorary Degree as the Commencement Speaker

Judith A. Clark is the founder and executive director of Women Who Care Ministries (WWCM). For more than 13 years, WWCM’s mission has been to help hurting people transition to a brighter day by providing critical safety net services. Clark is a Philadelphia native and mother of one daughter. Under her leadership, WWCM recently launched the Montgomery Village Food Center, which provides emergency food and self-sufficiency programs to its ever-increasing client base. WWCM’s signature program is the Helping Kids eat Backpack Weekend meal Program. This hunger relief initiative provides weekend meals for more than 1,600 low-income middle and elementary school students. Clark’s personal volunteerism includes providing meals to families at the Children’s Inn at NIH, helping substance abusers recover, and supporting the community through advocacy of social issues. Her many community-based memberships include Leadership Montgomery, National Council of Negro Women, NAACP, and Montgomery Village Rotary Club. She also sits on the Board of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation and Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc. Clark’s awards include the Community Service Award and Woman of Excellence Leadership Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Outstanding Organization of the Year Award from the City of Gaithersburg.

Dr. Adi Shmueli and Mrs. Iris Shmueli, longtime residents of Silver Spring, Maryland, are generous benefactors of Montgomery College. The Shmuelis selected Montgomery College both as a recipient of their current charitable gifts and as the beneficiary of their estates. Their combined bequests, the largest deferred-gift commitment in the history of Montgomery College, established the Adi and Iris Shmueli Endowed Scholarship to support both scholarships for students in the nursing program and transfer scholarships for students seeking to continue their education in baccalaureate programs.

Dr. Shmueli, a native of Tel Aviv, Israel, earned a master’s degree in philosophy at Tel Aviv University. He continued his study of existential philosophy in Denmark and France, where he earned a doctorate. He earned a second doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Rochester, New York, in 1974. Since 1976, Dr. Shmueli has been practicing as a life coach in Washington, DC. Mrs. Shmueli, a native of Texas, earned a nursing degree at Texas Woman’s University. She joined the Peace Corps and served in Afghanistan for two years. When she returned home, she attended Smith College, earning a master’s in social work in 1971. Mrs. Shmueli began a 20-year career in the Social Work Department at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. While working at the NIH, she earned a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University. Since retiring from NIH, she has been serving as a volunteer at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.

Mr. Gustavo Torres is the executive director of CASA de Maryland, Maryland’s largest Latino and immigrant organization. Originally a union leader from Colombia, Torres came to the US due to the political and economic unrest in his country. He joined CASA’s staff as a community organizer. Under his leadership, CASA grew from an organization with a handful of staff members and a budget of under $500,000, to a nationally awarded, multiservice, advocacy and support agency with a staff of more than 120 and a budget of nearly $8 million. He is co-chair of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), and a board member of the Alliance 4 Citizenship. He is also a founding member and past president of the National Partnership for New Americans, a national organization dedicated to immigrant integration.

Torres was board president of the National Day Labor Organizing Network. In December 2001, Torres received the Ford Foundation’s prestigious leadership for a Changing World Award, akin to the MacArthur “Genius” Awards presented to 12 grassroots leaders nationwide. In 2002, Washingtonian Magazine named Torres one of 15 Washingtonians of the Year. Under his direction, CASA has received numerous awards and national recognition, including the National Council of La Raza Affiliate of the Year Award, the Annie E. Casey Foundation Families Count Award, the Center for Community Change Champions Award and the Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Award.

Families and friends of the graduates in Montgomery County can watch the commencement ceremony live on Montgomery College Television, cable channel 10. The ceremony will also be available afterward on YouTube at

For more information about commencement, visit

Back To Top
×Close search