By Meg Upton
Feather River College graduated its class of 2023 on Friday, May 26, at Brennan Stadium under a bright blue sky and a challenging bit of heat.
President of the Board of Trustees, Guy McNett, welcomed those assembled with an acknowledgement of the weather holding and his enthusiasm for Feather River College as an academic institution.
Superintendent/President Dr. Kevin Trutna welcomed the graduates and attendees and in his remarks gave those assembled interesting demographic information and achievements of the class of 2023, including all of the championships FRC sports teams achieved this year. He also mentioned the achievements of Phi Beta Kappa, the Incarcerated Students program, and the Bachelor’s degree graduates.
Feather River College awarded 9 Bachelor’s degrees in its Equine and Ranch Management program and over 200 Associates degrees (though not all students awarded degrees were in attendance at the ceremony), along with over 160 certificates. The student body was made up of 178 California residents, 24 Nevadans, with four each from Oregon and Washington, three from Utah and a few from other states along with seven international students.
The youngest graduate was 17 years old; the oldest was 74.
This year’s keynote address came from alumnus Dr. Chad Doerr, who has spoken about his journey from Feather River College student to his success as the Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology Services for University of Nevada. He emphasized that he didn’t have the career he thought he was going to have (baseball) but how he learned so much and took opportunities where they came and persevered partially because of the guidance of a fellow FRC student.
The graduating students picked retiring English professor, Chris Connell, to deliver the faculty address. Dr. Derek Lerch introduced his retiring colleague noting the 27 years Connell has been with Feather River College had helped “determine the culture” of the campus. Connell’s address spoke of the students becoming life-long learners, respecting themselves and others and being who they truly are.
The student address was given by Emily Sheridan, who was graduating with an AA in both political science and sociology who spoke of overcoming diversity to get to where she was today.
California State Senate Awards for Excellence were given to Michelle Gonzales, Macey Fowler, Hailey Machado, Isacco Tomelleri, Joiandrea McKenzie, Sherrie Eckels, Lindsey Gaspers, Natalie Dalbol, Eugenia Geydelman, Luke Quinn, Daniel Longre, Lacy Ruegg, Emily Sherida, and Heather Robinson.
National Science Foundation STEM scholars were Emma Leff, Ryan Livingstone, Savana Manha, and Kimber McGraw. Ryan Livingston was honored as the graduate who had served in the military.
As each student took the stage to have their degrees and certificates conferred on them, Dr. Chris Connell read out their final remarks, which mostly acknowledged thanking their families and teachers for the support given them in their community college journey. A few students thanked their dogs.
It takes a village to get two-year college students on to the next phase in their journey—whether to work (as many in the equine and ranch program indicated) or on to a Bachelor’s degree program. Many of the athletes seemed to be moving on to Bachelor’s programs out of state with athletic scholarships. Between those in the stadium stand cheering them on, and those acknowledged from the stage and in the program, FRC Class of 2023 seemed well-poised for the challenge of whatever comes next. After two hours in the hot sun, the sky finally let out some rain and relief right after the ceremony was completed.