43rd Annual Commencement

Paterson Campus Park
Students at Commencement showing their diploma

Passaic County Community College
43rd Annual Commencement
May 21, 2015

Commencement Theme
Achieving the Dream

CLASS OF 2015!

The largest graduating class in PCCC history received
1,421 associate's degrees and certificates in the two ceremonies of the 43rd Commencement held May 21, 2015 at the Main Campus in Paterson..

"Getting all of you here is our dream," said
PCCC president Dr. Steven Rose to the graduates
as families and guests cheered.

The theme of this year’s commencement was Achieving the Dream (ATD), a reference to the nationwide initiative to encourage college completion among community college students.  PCCC is one of over 200 community colleges across the U.S. participating in ATD and last year, was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College for making strides toward college completion. (Read the story)

Dr. Rose acknowledged the challenges many PCCC students faced in the journey to graduation day.  “Many of you attended college while working full-time,” said Dr. Rose. “Some of you are parents, and others did not speak English as a first language,” he said.  Several students began their journey to a degree before 1980, but persisted through delays and interruptions to this day of success.

In a stirring speech, Passaic County Freeholder Director Hector Lora told the graduates that as they embarked on their lives and careers after graduation to remember that “discipline and hard work is the formula for success.”  Lora warned the grads, “You will meet adversities,” and advised them that when they face those challenges, they should “look back on this day,” and pull out their diplomas as a reminder of how they successfully overcame the challenges to their education and graduated.

Tyler Solari, graduating president of the Student Government Association, stressed the accomplishment of the graduates and the value of a college education. “Yesterday, you were in a classroom. Today you are at graduation. Tomorrow you can go wherever you want.”

Tiffany Daniels
Tiffany Daniels

The Class of 2015 valedictorians represent the wide spectrum of students at PCCC.  Tiffany Daniels, a Clifton resident and valedictorian at the morning ceremony came to PCCC directly after her high school  career as an honor student recognized by the NJ Stars scholarship program.  

Earning her AAS degree in Information Technology, Tiffany referenced in her speech the challenges facing women in the IT field. “There will be competition and people trying to see me fail because I am a woman. This will not stop me, nor should it stop any woman from going after what they want.”

Tiffany reminded her fellow grads that this is not the end of their journey, urging them to have faith and move forward. “There is not a single hurdle to prevent you from moving forward,” she said. (Watch Tiffany’s complete address)
Evening valedictorian Eric Pacheco of Passaic was a non-traditional student, entering PCCC in his late twenties. An underachiever in high school, he was an NJIT dropout, then spent several years in an unsatisfying job before enrolling at PCCC. 

“Every moment I”ve been here has been worth it,” said Eric who graduated with highest honors and a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He earned his AA degree in Liberal Arts/ English and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree at William Paterson University. An aspiring screenwriter, Eric has already produced a film which was selected for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

Eric Pacheco
Eric Pacheco

Eric advised his fellow grads that “being humble, focused, and active” is a “strategy for the future,” and urged them to be proactive. “The world out there is waiting for you.” (Watch Eric’s complete address)

For the first time in PCCC history, the Class of 2015 included 41 high school seniors from Passaic County Technical Institute who received their professional certificates in Child Development at the morning ceremony. 
The students, who will graduate high school this month, earned college credits and acquired career training and hands-on experience while still in high school through the Dual Enrollment Program. 

Class of 2015
Class of 2015

After conferring the degrees and certificates on the graduates, Dr. Rose gave his final charge to the Class of 2015 “This (diploma) will allow you to do in your lives what you may have never dreamed you could.
It’s up to you.”

ATD Logo
Facts About the Class of 2015
  • Graduates represent  44 different birth countries.
  • Every town in Passaic County is represented
  • Grads range in age from 17-62
  • 60% are female
  • The largest program is Criminal Justice with 399 graduates
  • Four graduates began their college careers before 1980
  • For the first time, 41 high school seniors who earned college credit through the Dual Enrollment program were awarded their professional certificates at Commencement 2015.