Macomb Community College celebrates 104th commencement

Tuesday, May 04, 2021 08:00 AM

Macomb Celebrates 104th Commencement
Macomb awarded approximately 1,242 associate degrees for the 2021 winter semester.

Three students share their Macomb experience during virtual ceremony

Macomb Community College is celebrating its 104th commencement, with a virtual ceremony available at beginning May 7. The college will be awarding approximately 1,242 associate degrees for the 2021 winter semester. Nearly 320 graduates participated in the ceremony.

“Earning a college degree opens an important new door to the rest of your life,” said James O. Sawyer IV, president, Macomb Community College, when addressing the new graduates. “Whether you use your Macomb education directly to carve out a specific career path or it is the beginning of a longer educational quest to a specific goal, the ability to envision a different future and follow a plan to achieve it will take you anywhere you want to go. You have proven that you have the follow through necessary to achieve success. And, you have defined yourself as a person of commitment, of education, of tenacity and of achievement.”

Three graduates share their Macomb experience during the virtual ceremony. “On behalf of myself and my graduate colleagues, I would like to thank the entire staff and faculty of Macomb. Thank you for your patience, support and knowledge,” said Imari Ross, 23, of Macomb. “I am thankful Macomb created an environment for me to succeed, and to have fun and connect across clubs and other activities to get a much-needed break from studying. I have learned much from my educational journey here, and now I am well equipped to have a great impact on society.”

Ross earned an associate of general studies degree and plans to pursue a real estate license, with dreams of owning her own real estate brokerage. She also plans to start a non-profit ministry this summer.

Graduate Ashley Herty, 30, of Clinton Township, found renewed purpose while pursuing her degree in respiratory therapy during a clinical rotation.

 “I was given an amazing opportunity to help take care of the sick neonatal and pediatric population in the intensive care unit at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital,” said Herty. “These babies, who fought harder than any adult I have ever helped care for in the past 10 years, were the reason behind my journey.  My reason to become a respiratory therapist, my reason to keep pushing harder and longer than ever before, my reason for all the heartaches and hardship was to help care for these precious gifts of life.”

Herty is currently studying for her state board exams and seeking an opportunity to put her skills to work.

With his new associate of arts degree, Austin McClung, 34, of Clinton Township, plans to transfer to Wayne State University’s undergraduate education program to pursue his dream of becoming a high school algebra teacher. A returning student after a nearly 16-year absence from higher education, McClung moved from warehouse job to warehouse job before returning to Macomb.

“While writing this speech, this point really struck me -- how far I’ve come and where I am going,” said McClung. “I can now tell my kids with pride that both their parents are college graduates. I cannot put into words just how good that feels but hope that all of you experience something close to it in your accomplishment.”

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is one of the largest grantors of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor-degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media contact: Sean M. Patrick 586.445.7271