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Montgomery College to Celebrate 68th Commencement Friday, May 22 Cokie and Steve Roberts to Address the Graduates

Montgomery College celebrates its 68th commencement ceremony Friday, May 22 at 10 a.m., honoring graduates from the College’s three campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring – along with apprenticeship graduates in Workforce Development & Continuing Education programs. Over 3,000 students have completed graduation requirements for associate’s degrees, apprenticeships or certificates this academic year and more than 900 will participate in the ceremony, which will be held on the Rockville Campus athletic field.

“I look forward to this day all year,” Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard said. “Few things give me more joy than that moment when our graduates walk across the stage to receive their associate’s degrees and certificates after so much hard work. More than any other, on this day, our mission of empowering students to change their lives is realized.”

The commencement address will be delivered by award-winning journalists, Cokie and Steve Roberts. Cokie Roberts is an Emmy award-winning political commentator for ABC News. She also contributes political analysis for National Public Radio. She was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in broadcasting history. Steve Roberts has covered some of the major events of the last 50 years, including 12 presidential election campaigns. He has written for New York Times and U.S. News. He is now the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University (GW). Together, the Roberts write a nationally-syndicated newspaper column.

Four Students Selected to Address Graduates

Leroy John Friend Jr. is the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Apprenticeship Scholar. A former coal miner, Mr. Friend is graduating with a 3.72 grade point average after completing the Air Conditioning Contractors of America National Capital Chapter apprenticeship program. Employed with Shapiro & Duncan Mechanical Contractors, Friend is a native of Oakland, Maryland where he also volunteered with the Southern Garrett County Rescue Squad.

Pavanjot Singh Guraya is the Germantown Campus Scholar. Mr. Guraya came to Montgomery College after not being accepted to a four-year school. He seized on the MC opportunity and thrived in the Macklin Business Institute, an honors program, earning a 4.0 grade point average and a membership in Phi Theta Kappa. He is originally from the United Kingdom.

Fidelis Mariae A. Militante is the Rockville Campus Scholar. A nursing major with a 4.0 grade point average and Phi Theta Kappa membership, Militante is originally from the Philippines. She is member of the Renaissance Scholars honors program and served as vice president of the Student Senate. Ms. Militante also received a prestigious 2015 Montgomery College Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.

Antony Musembi is the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Scholar. Returning to the classroom after a 20-year hiatus, Mr. Musembi, a Kenyan native, is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. A member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Renaissance program, he was also selected from among all Maryland community college students to be the speaker at the Maryland Community Colleges’ Student Advocacy Day.

Honorary Degrees to Be Awarded to College and Community Leaders

Honorary degrees will be presented to commencement speakers Cokie Roberts and Steve Roberts. In addition, honorary degrees will be presented to three community leaders:


Dr. Michael C. Lin worked for 35 years at the National Institutes of Health as a biomedical scientist, contributing to Nobel Prize winning research in the cardiovascular field. In addition, Dr. Lin, a native of Taiwan, recently chaired the 1882 Project, securing the passage of Congressional resolutions which expressed regret for the injustice of the Chinese exclusion laws. Dr. Lin also served as the national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans. He has chaired the Board of Trustees at Montgomery College and currently serves on the Montgomery College Life Sciences Park Foundation Board.

Eliot Pfanstiehl is the CEO and founder of Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc. He has been a founder, president, chair or board member of the Montgomery County Arts Council, the Round House Theatre, the League of Washington Theatres, Friends of the Kennedy Center, Black Rock Arts Center, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and the Maryland Association of Non-profit Organizations. Mr. Pfanstiehl is the founding president of the Maryland Leadership Workshops.

  1. Marie Taylor is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Montgomery County. She has been an exceptional partner to Montgomery College, working on philanthropy and advocacy initiatives including health insurance for students and the African American Youth Report. She has also served as executive director of Interfaith Works and had a long career at Food & Friends, a nonprofit organization providing meals and counseling to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses.

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 .

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