Southwestern College diplomas. Courtesy photo
Southwestern College diplomas. Courtesy photo

A record 816 students are set to participate in Southwestern College’s largest commencement ceremony ever Friday.

Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County,and more than 500,000 students have attended the College since it opened its doors 55 years ago.

In all, Southwestern College is awarding 4,011 degrees and certificates this year.

“Our graduates will be attending the Ivy League universities of the East and West coasts, and we can be proud that Southwestern College has prepared them well,” said Southwestern College Governing Board President Nora Vargas, who also is a proud alumnus of the college. “We look forward to the impact they will have on our community and our nation.”

UC Berkeley-bound Melissa Rodriguez, student trustee, Associated Student Organization president and one of Southwestern College’s 2016 Student of Distinction Award recipients, will be the student speaker.

Southwestern College one of nine high performing colleges in California after a comprehensive,independent examination showed a 138 percent increase in the number of ADT students transferring to a CSU, one of the greatest increases in the state, and the largest in San Diego County. In 2013-14,

Southwestern conferred 171 associate degrees for transfer, but in 2014-15 that number grew to 407,according to Campaign for College Opportunity data.

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