More than 1,000 Graduate From SCF, Manatee-Sarasota

(Bradenton, Fla., Dec. 16, 2016) — About 245 students will participate in graduation ceremonies at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto. They are among about 1,050 students eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony after completing their degree requirements in the Summer and Fall semesters.

Of the graduates participating in commencement, 141 earned Associate in Arts degrees, 45 earned Associate in Science degrees, and 55 earned bachelor’s degrees. Four graduates earned certificates.

The graduation speaker will be Maury R. Kolchakian, an alumnus who had a long career in public service in Tallahassee. Kolchakian graduated from SCF, then Manatee Junior College, in 1973 with an Associate in Arts and received the Joe Fant Award for outstanding leadership. He earned his B.A. at Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1975. At FSU, he received the Coyle Moore Award for leadership.  He then earned his law degree in 1978 at FSU College of Law, where he received the Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society first, second and third year awards for outstanding leadership. Following the example instilled in him at MJC by Dr. George J. Spears, who was the chairman of the language, literature and philosophy department, Kolchakian has been a champion of education and students in need, creating scholarships at SCF and FSU.

The Outstanding Graduate Award will be presented to a student who has shown superior leadership, academic achievement and community service while attending SCF. This year’s finalists are Randy Allen Gilmore, Rhianna Lee Hesselrode, Wedencise Lubin and Morgan Rene Young. Funding for SCF's Outstanding Graduate Award is provided by the State College of Florida Foundation Inc.

Program participants will include SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld; Dr. Richard G. Barnhouse, vice president, strategic enrollment management; Gary Russell, vice president of academic affairs; Janet H. Samuels, assistant professor, mathematics; Kristen L. Zaborski, assistant professor, business and technology; Robert W. Schuette, student veteran, SCF Bradenton; and the Rev. Bryan D. O’Carroll, campus ministry.

Dr. Noema (Amy) Santos, department chair/professor, business and technology, will serve as the macebearer and offer a short welcome during the ceremony.

The national anthem will be sung by the SCF Chamber Choir directed by Melodie Dickerson, SCF music program director. The processional and recessional will be performed by the SCF Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. Robyn Bell, SCF director of instrumental studies.

Tickets are required and were made available to graduating students. Maps and directions are online at

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