Celebrating Palo Alto College graduates in 2022

May 17, 2022

Dr. Robert Garza

Whether students are the first in their families to attend college or looking to continue their education, Palo Alto College has always been a place where our community and students can achieve their dreams and aspirations.

On Friday, May 20, friends and family will come together for Palo Alto College’s 35th annual commencement ceremony at Freeman Coliseum to celebrate the achievements of more than 1,300 students who have earned an Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science, and certificates of completion in the 2021-2022 academic year.

During the traditional ceremony, graduates will hear from Marilyn June Dovalina, Chief Financial Officer for Por Vida Academy Charter District. Dovalina will be recognized as this year’s 2022 Outstanding Former Student for exhibiting professional achievement, community service, and support of education throughout her career.

Delivering the keynote address will be former San Antonio City Councilman and President and CEO of Communities in Schools, Rey Saldaña. A former Palo Alto College student, the 2016 Outstanding Former Student, and Distinguished Alumni inductee, Saldaña will share his journey as a former student enrolled and supported within the local chapter of Communities In Schools, to now serving as the leader of the national organization.

Joining our traditional college graduates will be 250 high school students who will be graduating with their associate degree before receiving their high school diploma as part of our Early College High School partnerships. These graduates are students who had enrolled at one of our nine early college high school partners: CAST STEM High School, Frank L. Madla Early College High School, John F. Kennedy Early College High School, John F. Kennedy PTECH, Memorial Early College High School, South San Antonio Early College Academy, Southside Early College High School, S.T.E.M. Early College High School, and Zacharias Early College Leadership Academy.

As we have done in recent years, we also celebrate the achievements of our Adult Learning Academy students who have completed their high school equivalency preparation and testing (commonly known as GED). These graduates have taken the first step towards achieving the next milestone in their educational journey.

In the fall of 2021, we announced a partnership with North Park Toyota of San Antonio to help students get where they need to go. As part of the College’s Graduate and Drive Giveaway, select eligible graduates will be entered into a drawing and one lucky student will get keys to a brand-new car during the 2022 graduation ceremony.

Family members and loved ones not able to attend the ceremony in person can watch a live stream on Palo Alto College’s YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/PaloAltoCollege.

Our students’ achievements are the reason we continue to strive for excellence. As a pillar in south San Antonio for over three decades, Palo Alto College’s collective focus is to ensure our community is prepared to build a strong foundation for its future. Whether students are transferring to a college or university or are entering the workforce to begin a career, our students continue to achieve greatness, and we are honored to be a part of their journey. Congratulations to the class of 2022!

This column by Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College, was originally published in the San Antonio Express-News’ Southside Reporter and mysanantonio.com.