Pasco-Hernando State College will host winter commencement on Tuesday, December 13, in the Physical Fitness Center at the West Campus in New Port Richey, 10230 Ridge Road. Two commencement ceremonies will honor graduates earning bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, certificates and diplomas. The morning ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the afternoon commencement will begin at 4 p.m. The events will stream live online at www.phsc.edu/news/webcast-live.
This year’s winter graduates include several ambitious students:
Markel Floyd, 22, of Dade City, student speaker for the morning ceremony, will receive his AA degree. He served as SGA secretary in 2015-16 and is active in campus and student leadership activities. Floyd revived the chess club at the PHSC East Campus and participated in the health and fitness club. He participated in the PHSC College Reach-Out Program as a middle school student and will be the first in his family to receive a college degree. Floyd plans to study engineering at a Florida university this summer after completing some remaining prerequisites at PHSC.
Phylicia Kloes, 22, of Wesley Chapel, student speaker for the afternoon commencement, will earn her AA degree. Kloes is an international student from the Netherlands; she first visited the United States as a foreign exchange student at Wiregrass Ranch High School in 2011-2012. It was her passion for learning that brought Kloes to the PHSC Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch. Kloes is the president of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Porter Campus chapter, a member of Psi Beta, and active in the Student Government Association (SGA). She also participated in planning many student activity events and was a speaker on numerous student panels. Kloes previously attended the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences where she interned as a student teacher. She is fluent in Dutch and English and knowledgeable in the French and German languages. Kloes will continue her education at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi on a full scholarship where she will seek a bachelor’s in education so that she can inspire students by sharing her passion for learning.
Tiffany Cooper, 38, Hudson, is a full-time student earning her AA. She is a member of PTK and a PHSC student ambassador. Cooper’s long journey to her degree was impacted by a car accident when she was 16 years old causing major head trauma and a later diagnosis of epilepsy along with PTSD and short term memory loss. Her diagnosis caused a major career path shift, stopping her short of finishing a technical medical certification which she intended to use as a launching pad to a health care career. It also affected her personally—resulting in job loss, divorce and the termination of driving privileges. She credits her brother’s support in helping her get on her feet again. “I thought about going to school again for a long time, but I wasn’t sure I could do it,” said Cooper. “With some support I thought I would try; what did I have to lose? Life gives us a second chance every day and it’s called tomorrow!” With help from the college’s disabilities services office, she worked harder than many of her peers to be a successful student, investing additional time in diligent note taking and word association to help recall information for tests. Cooper has been accepted to the University of South Florida where she will seek a bachelor’s degree in international business, with an interest in studying expanding global markets for the United States.
Erica Graham, 26, of New Port Richey, will receive her AS in radiography. She is a member of Lambda Nu and the fundraising liaison for the PHSC radiography club. Graham is a single mother of a four-year-old daughter and a student assistant in the library. “Without my daughter, I would not be graduating now, as she is the source of my perseverance and dedication to success,” said Graham. She strives to make her daughter proud, proving that determination is critical to academic achievement. This spring, Graham continues her education in PHSC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program with a focus in health care administration.
Reflections Speaker Shirley Cherry, retiring associate professor, mathematics and the first student to register at the college in 1972, will address the audience in what will be her last commencement ceremony as she ends her teaching career at the college.
Graduation speakers include: District Board of Trustees Chair Edward Blommel in the morning ceremony, District Board of Trustees Vice Chair John Dougherty in the afternoon ceremony; Charge to the Graduates Speakers, Frank Morsani (morning), retired chairman, Automotive Investments, Inc. and trustee, Frank and Carol Morsani Foundation, Inc., and John Mitten (afternoon) owner, Chick-fil A of Hernando County; Connie LaMarca-Frankel, professor, humanities; and Student Speakers Markel Floyd (morning) and Phylicia Kloes (afternoon). Approximately 323 degrees and certificates will be conferred at the ceremonies. An estimated 539 summer graduates and 643 winter graduates are eligible to participate.
Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) serves the educational needs and interests of its community by awarding certificates, diplomas, associate and baccalaureate degrees. As a comprehensive, multicampus learning-centered institution, PHSC utilizes various instructional modalities and support services. PHSC provides an accessible, diverse teaching and learning environment rich with opportunities for students to achieve academic success and cultural growth in a global society.