Fresno City College commencement included a few firsts and a record number of graduates
The sounds of pomp and circumstances filled the air as the 2023 Fresno City College commencement on Friday (May 19) at Ratcliffe Stadium included a few firsts and a record number of graduates.
It was FCC college President Robert Pimentel’s first time presiding over the commencement since becoming president in July 2022.
“Graduates, we know you didn’t get here alone,” Pimentel told graduates as he welcomed them. “I would like for you to acknowledge those in the crowd that helped you get here.”
This was the first time a Fresno City commencement has taken place at Ratcliffe Stadium, according to college officials.
“This is a very special occasion as this may be the first time, we celebrate our commencement ceremony at this historic site and you get to be the class to celebrate with us,” Pimentel said.
College spokeswoman Kathy Bonilla said Fresno City commencements took place at the Saroyan Courtyard in the 1970s, moved to Selland Arena in 1985, and held the last two years at Chukchansi Park.
With a capacity of 13,000 people on the stands, Bonilla estimated approximately 11,000 people – families and friends – attended.
The Class of 2023 broke another record: 2,687 students were eligible to participate in the ceremony earning 2,849 degrees. The number of graduates has increased each year since 2016.
Bonilla said of those, 1,200 took part and walked on stage.
“Congratulations on getting here and we are excited to celebrate you as you achieve this milestone,” Pimentel said. “
For some their associate degree is the step to accomplish their goals and start working.
Like Angela Ray Grantham – who graduates as the Tony Cantú President’s Medallion and earned an associate degree in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Grantham, 40, hopes to open her own business.
Others will continue to a 4-year university and pursue higher education.
“No matter what your destiny is, I hope you always remember sitting here at this stadium as a proud Fresno City College Ram,” Pimentel said.
This year’s recipients of the Dean’s Medallion of Excellence Award for each division are:
▪ Angela Grantham, of Fresno, Applied Technology Division;
▪ Sunshine Derek, of Fresno, Allied Health, Physical Education and Athletics Division;
▪ Anthony Ramirez, of Fresno, Business Education Division;
▪ María Rivera, of San Francisco, Counseling and Guidance Division;
▪ Dominick Callahan, of Clovis, Fine, Performing & Communication Arts Division;
▪ Melinda Radilla, Fresno, Humanities Division;
▪ Amarisa González, of Sanger, Math, Science and Engineering Division; and
▪ Patricia Gonzales, of Visalia, Social Sciences Division.