Gov. Colyer Honors Donnelly Graduates at Donnelly's 69th Commencement Ceremony

Gov. Colyer Honors Donnelly Graduates at Donnelly's 69th Commencement Ceremony

Gradaute at Donnelly College's 69th Commencement Ceremony on May 12 at the Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Donnelly College hosted its 69th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12 at the Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas, honoring the graduating class of 2018. 

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer was in attendance, providing a charge to graduates during the ceremony. This was the first time a sitting Governor has attended a Donnelly College commencement ceremony.

"Today as you walk off the stage, you are at a crossroads," Gov. Colyer said. "You aren't just making decisions, you are making choices. And these choices only come by opening your heart, opening your mind and to your soul to all the growth and discovery and possibilities that's there." 

The 2018 Donnelly College graduating class consists of 96 students – 35 students that received a Practical Nursing certificate and 61 students that have earned an academic degree (11 Bachelor’s and 50 Associate). Of these graduates, seventy-two percent were first-generation college students.

During the commencement ceremony, two student speakers, LaCherish Thompson and Todd Kinney addressed their fellow graduates. Thompson spoke about how each graduate has lost dreams, dreams that have potential and worth pursuing. 

"Take back your dreams," Thompson said. "So when I tell you the sky is the limit, tell me, 'I'm ready to fly.'" And when I tell you to dream as big as the ocean, tell me, 'The largest body of water cannot contain what I can do,' and when I tell you that the possibilities are endless, as far as the East is from the West, tell me, 'I can do all things through Christ (who) strengthens me,' and when I tell you the world is yours, tell me, 'I already have it in my hands,' and when I say, you can be anything, absolutely anything you want to be, tell me, 'I know I can and I will be.'" 

During his student commencement speech, Kinney told the graduates that all long as they continue to fill their souls, they will be successful in life. 

"You have filled your souls with knowledge and grace and it will never die," he said. "We can fly people to the moon and back in one piece, but even with all that, no human being can or ever will be able to touch, takeaway, create or destroy a living soul - only God can do that. Our souls (are) God's everlasting gift to us. And that is why, as long as you continue to fill your soul with knowledge and grace, today is only the beginning. Only the first of your life victories." 

Donnelly alumna Dr. Liza Rodriguez ('01) gave the commencement address. Rodriguez challenged graduates to remain true to themselves, respect others and give back to the community. 

"I challenge you to one day stand on this podium and inspire future generations of college students to find their drive and fight for what they are passionate about," she said. "The hardest mathematical equation and the toughest challenges in life help you grow strong and realize your truest potential. And never forget to help others on the way." 

Donnelly’s Commencement Ceremony also celebrated seven graduates from the Gateway to College program, a high school completion program partnered with USD 500 Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, where students earn their high school diploma and receive college credit from Donnelly.

Following the Commencement Ceremony, Donnelly College's Practical Nursing (PN) graduates were recognized in a pinning ceremony, which is a traditional rite of passage for nursing school graduates across the country.

The ceremony was led by Sandra Tapp, director of nursing, who congratulated the 36 graduates for their many accomplishments during the 16-month program.

Graduates were pinned by a nursing faculty or a nursing friend from the community who inspired them to pursue and finish the PN program. Donnelly’s PN graduates lit their lamps and recited the traditional Florence Nightingale pledge to close the ceremony.

Photos from Donnelly's Commencement Ceremony and Nursing Pinning Ceremony are now available to view and download.

Videos from Donnelly's Commencement Graduate Speakers are now available.


2018 Graduates

Gateway to College

Julieta Castro

Brianna Davis

Andres Moreno Esquivel

Vilma Palm-Perez

Melanie Quinonez

Sydney Soverns

Abby Wiser

Practical Nursing

Said M Ali+

Gertrude Agyeiwaa Amissah

Mimi Assefa+

Joslyn Michelle Brockman+

Gabriel Lisa Brown+

Kaitlyn Nicole Collins+

Marie Roseline Leroy+

Jennifer Garcia+

Kenya Glover

Jalisa Dianna Haynes+

Amanda Danielle Hester

Jazmon Elaine Howell+

Tonya M Keightley+

Seumhy A. Lavadores Cortez

Eva Z. Loya+

Neema Gidion Mambo

Erin Michele Mead

Omari Mkindi+

Aly Mponezya

Joyce Waithira Njuguna Mwangi

Linnet Waceke Njunge Augustina Ofori+

Cherise Anitra Ornelas+ Vanessa LeAnne Paxton*+

Kaylen Adina Peltier

Ruthie S Jean Philippe

Jamie Rodriguez

Janae Rodriguez

Ayten Shah+

Rachel Leanne Smith

Aida Sole

Ja-Lynn Rayanna Weathers+

Crystal Marie Whittiker+

Keona Nonnetta

Denise Williams+

April Witherspoon+

Danielle Wynn+

















Associate of Arts

Rebeca Alcala*+

Alejandra Nicole Alvarado Rodriguez+

Cynthia Alexis Arenas+

Arleth Azucena Arevalo Tovar+

Jose R. Ayala Morales+

Edith Alejandra Ayala+

Holly Christine Berg+

Keith-Eric Boyd+

Luz Calderon*+

Koral Calderon Ruiz+

Mariela Selena Celaya Batres+

Isidora De Sustaita+

Jessica Diaz

Mariel Fierro

Beatriz A. Galindo Mendoza+

Shanna Pearl Gardner+

Anna Marie Gerkovich+

Wasiba Ibrahim Hamad

Brandon Teron Harrison+

Michelle Lilana Hernandez-Abarca+

Maria Alejandra Herrera*+

Jakila Hullaby+

Majestye Antoinette Ivory

Ilse Rubi Jimenez Valenzuela+

Todd Ricardo Kinney*+

Marylu Lopez+

Maria Gricelda Magana Arias+

Shelly Savanna Matlock

Helary Medina-Martinez*+

Miriam Mendez+

Shams Mohammed+

Ana Karen Mojica Mendoza*+

Araceli Morales+

Martin Navarro

Yoseline Chanelle Palmas Perez+

Angelica Trinidad Perez*

Jhoana Perez Omana+

Celia Margarita Ramirez Mendez+

Zulina Yetlanezi Ramirez+

Elizabeth Rodriguez+

Ada Marisol Sanabria-Flores*+

Esmeralda Sandoval-Ramirez+

Alyssa Kay Smith+

Romy Than+

Mariana Valles Meza+

Pedro Velasquez+

Peilong Zhou

Associate of Applied Science

Jeffrey Lynch

Bachelor of Arts

Camila N. Alvarez*+

Alexandra Scott Baez Cruz+

Jamaal Clayton

LaCherish Lanese Thompson*+

Yolanda L. Trummel+

Alejandra Valles Meza+

Sherita Nichole Miller-Williams+

Bachelor of Science

Tyler Hagstrom*+

Magali Rubi Rojas Serrano+

Jose Jairo Baldovinos+

* Member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society
+ First-generation college student

Note: We apologize for any program omissions due to printing deadlines.
This release should not be used as an official record of 2018 gradautes.
Please contact Donnelly College's Office of the Registrar for official graduate records.