Renowned Leader Applauds Donnelly Grads as 'Tomorrow's Greatest Generation'

Renowned Leader Applauds Donnelly Grads as 'Tomorrow's Greatest Generation'

US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez addresses Donnelly graduates.

Many months or years of hard work and perseverance paid off for 61 Donnelly College students as they completed studies for Gateway to College, Practical Nursing, Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees or certificates.

The 2016 commencement ceremony — held Saturday, May 14, at the Jack Reardon Civic Center — provided time for reflection and celebration for graduates, family members and friends.

Two graduate candidates spoke on behalf of the student body: Austin Garrett (AA) and Denise Suarez Gomez (BS).

Garrett spoke to the support he received at Donnelly, along with mentioning many faculty and staff members who impacted his life.

"I never expected to be giving a graduation speech, especially in college," he said. "But that's why I consider Donnelly a land of opportunity.

"If you wanted to do something [at Donnelly], it was actually going to get done. The support was there to help you."

Suarez Gomez found her place at Donnelly after struggling to feel a connection at other schools.

"Donnelly is a place for anyone," she said. "The doors are open. There's a school that's willing to take us and grow us and allow us to be who we need to be.

"For me, Donnelly is the lighthouse. It is community. Without this school, many of us wouldn't be achieving our dreams."

President and CEO of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Javier Palomarez gave the commencement address.

Palomarez shared three key pieces of advice with graduates: mindset is more important than skill set; keep friends close who bring out the best in you and do not measure wealth in dollars, but rather in the fulfillment of your life's purpose.

"One day, we’ll all marvel at the remarkable contributions that you’ve made to our country, the communities you’ve served, the careers you’ve built and the countless lives you’ve touched," he said. "In fact, we’re already amazed by what you’ve accomplished."

Additionally, he noted the importance of educating the whole person, as Donnelly strives to do with its liberal arts and Catholic traditions.

"For over half a century, this school has encouraged its students to observe the miraculous world around them and the moral code within," he said. "The education you’ve received here has given you the power to defy expectations and prove to the world that today’s 'millennials' will be tomorrow’s greatest generation."

Watch the full graduation ceremony online here, and view photos from the commencement exercises here.

2016 Graduates

Gateway to College
Jasmine Herrera
Rodrigo Palominos
Juliana Sanchez
Brandon Tilden

Practical Nursing Certificate
Anwar Alhanadah
Lesly Galindo
Veronica Kamau
Irene Kimani
Steven Meyer
Dorah Nakasi
Peris Ndegwa
Ashaunti Njie
Briana Norwood
Ijeoma Obah
Vivian Oguegbu
Audra Spitzer
Batrice Upton

Associate of Arts
Ahmed Al Hamami*
Jennifer Alvarez
Zulema Amparan
Boulai Anorath
Leonardo Avila
Roger Berg, III
Ashley Blevins
Tyron Bridgewater
Sarai Cruz*
Ashish Diyali
Rosa Favela*
Shavondra Folkins
Austin Garrett
Shalenda Gunnels
Gabrielle Harris
Chitra Khadka
Jose Lopez
Adrian Morales
Katelyn O'Reilly
Kayla Palacios
Shelley Rivera
Martha Rodriguez Torres
Jennifer Rutiaga
LaCherish Thompson
Zawadi Twizele
Luis Usseglio-Carbajal
Jhonatan Vallejo

Associate of Applied Science
Sean Cepeda

Associate of Science
Camila Alvarez
Jorge Dominguez*
Tyler Hagstrom*
Saraswati Kharka*
Jesus Renteria
Juan Rodriguez
Alejandra Sandoval
Daniel Siguenza
Dulce Sosa Cabral

Bachelor of Applied Science
Roberto Luna

Bachelor of Arts
Serena Browne
Juan Garcia
Cristopher Miller

Bachelor of Science
Deidra Hood
Diego Payan
Denise Suarez Gomez

* Member of Phi Theta Kappa
honor society

Note: We apologize for any
omissions due to deadlines.
This release should not be
used as an official record

of 2016 graduates. Please
Donnelly College's
Office of 
the Registrar for
graduate records.