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The Honorable Leon Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to Greet the Graduates; Kojo Nnamdi to Deliver Commencement Address

Montgomery College celebrates its 69th commencement ceremony Friday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at the Rockville Campus, 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.

Among the approximately 2,600 graduates, four outstanding students will be recognized during the ceremony.

Taiyo V. Asano is the Workforce Development and Continuing Education Apprenticeship Scholar.Heis completing a four-year apprenticeship program as an HVAC technician and is graduating with a 3.83 grade point average. He is enrolled in the Association of Air Conditioning Professionals (AACP), formerly the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, National Capital Chapter (ACCA/NCC) apprenticeship program. Mr. Asano is employed with the Capron Company, Inc., a specialty mechanical services contractor in Rockville. Not only was he an outstanding student, but also he helped other students with their studies. Among the high praise for Mr. Asano’s work ethic, one former client had this to say: “Mr. Asano has the rare combination of technical prowess and craftsmanship, matched with solid emotional and professional maturity.”

Mr. Eric A. Baron is the Germantown Campus Scholar.A business administration major and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, he is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Born in Plano, Texas, he is a first-generation American. As a member of the Macklin Business Institute, he was involved in Enactus, serving as a project leader for Hunger Alleviation, which works with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program to coordinate and manage food distribution to the food pantry. He served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa and tutored in accounting and mathematics at the Germantown Campus. He will be transferring to American University to pursue a dual major in mathematics and economics.

Mr.Jerome B. Quenum is the Rockville Campus Scholar. He is an electrical engineering major and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Mr. Quenum is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. Originally from Benin, West Africa, he moved to the United States in 2013. He served as a STEM ambassador, volunteering in middle school and high school engineering outreach programs. He also tutored in the Math and Science Center. As a member of the Society of Physics Students, he presented at the 2015 meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. He was treasurer of the Math Club and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Club. After completing a summer internship, he will continue serving in the US military. Mr. Quenum will pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Maryland.

Frehiwot Y. Seyoum is the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Scholar. Ms. Seyoum is a general studies major and member of Phi Theta Kappa. She is graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. She emigrated from Ethiopia in July 2013, and enrolled at Montgomery College in spring 2014. During her matriculation at the College, she has been an active member of the Ethiopian Student Association. She earned the Andreae Vesalii Certificate of Excellence for outstanding performance in anatomy and physiology. Ms. Seyoum has participated in various volunteer activities both on and off campus, including the Montgomery College Open House for Ethiopian Community and Confluence: Translation in the Capital Area, the conference celebrating International Translation Day. Ms. Seyoum plans to transfer to the University of Maryland School of Nursing, where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree.

The Honorable Leòn Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will give brief remarks to the graduates. He previously served as the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services and as chief of staff and deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice (DOJ). In addition, Rodríguez was county attorney for Montgomery County. He was a principal at Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver in Washington, D.C. Rodríguez served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division at DOJ from and a senior assistant district attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in New York.

Public radio host Kojo Nnamdi will deliver the commencement address. Nnamdi has hosted the WAMU interview program bearing his name for more than 18 years. He also hosts The Politics Hour on WAMU. From 1985 to 2011, Mr. Nnamdi hosted Evening Exchange with Kojo, a public affairs television program broadcast by WHUT. His broadcasting career began in 1973 at WHUR in Washington, DC, where he served as news editor and news director until 1985. During that time, he led a news division that created the award-winning evening broadcast, The Daily Drum. Mr. Nnamdi won an Emmy Award for Excellence in Broadcasting in 1993. He earned induction into the Society of Professional Journalists, DC Chapter Hall of Fame in 2014.

In addition, the Board of Trustees will pay tribute to community leaders and College benefactors. Honorary degrees will be presented to Georgette “Gigi” Godwin, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce; Kevin Sexton, president and CEO, Holy Cross Health; Dr. Kenneth Weiner, professor emeritus of mathematics, Montgomery College; and commencement speaker, journalist Kojo Nnamdi.


Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 130 areas of study.

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