Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 Commencement Celebrates Student Success

Graduation Numbers Increase as Students Overcome Challenges
to Gain New Opportunities and Strengthen the Local Economy 

PHOENIX – May 4, 2012 – Rio Salado College will celebrate the accomplishments of the 2011-12 graduates at commencement May 17 at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. This marks the 33rd graduation ceremony for the college and a 45 percent increase in associate degrees awarded from last year. The free-ticketed event begins at 7 p.m. Featured student speakers will be Michal Rudnick and Gina Boesch.
Michal Rudnick
Rudnick, a 33-year-old wife and mother of three put college on hold for ten years as she started a family and worked for a local government agency. She overcame many struggles to earn her Associate in Applied Science in public administration, which will allow her to move up in her career and provide examples of academic excellence and dedication to her children. Her biggest passion is healthcare and she will next pursue a bachelor's degree at ASU in public administration to help prepare for pending changes in the healthcare industry as it relates to her profession.

“I look forward to furthering my education, as Rio Salado has given me an excellent foundation,” said Rudnick. “Not only am I better prepared to face professional challenges, the online learning format at Rio has dramatically improved my online communication skills which are vital to the professional work I do every day.”
Gina Boesch
After a successful clerical career in civil service, Boesch, a working mother of seven-year-old twins, found herself unemployed and without highly marketable skills. As a Mexican immigrant, she longed to utilize her bilingual skills to those needing help with the most basic of transactions. While her career in civil service was rewarding, she quickly reached the highest level her education would allow. She decided she could become more, and despite financial and health challenges, has earned her Associate in Applied Science in computer science. She is currently enrolled in a bachelor's program at ASU focused on web design, and will next pursue a masters in bilingual education on her road to designing bilingual e-learning materials.

“I reached my goal of graduating from Rio Salado thanks to countless amounts of help I received from college personnel,” said Boesch. “I can’t wait to apply my passion and strengths in a profession I believe will open doors for many people without them having to sacrifice their own culture in order to succeed.”

Additional highlights include congratulatory remarks from Maricopa Community College District Governing Board President, Doyle Burke, MCCD Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick and Rio Salado College President, Dr. Chris Bustamante.

A total of 4,112 degrees and certificates will be awarded for 2011-2012, with nearly 150 students participating in this year’s commencement exercises.

2012 Graduation Statistics*:
627 Associate Degrees
  • 143 Associate in Arts 
  • 10 Associate in Elementary Education 
  • 1 Associate in Fine Arts 
  • 72 Associate in General Studies 
  • 21 Associate in Business – General Requirements 
  • 8 Associate in Science 
  • 372 Associate in Applied Science 
23 Academic Certificates

3,256 Certificates of Completion

206 Recognitions of Academic Achievement (TEP)

*Projected numbers at time of posting.

Additional Graduations:
The college will celebrate the accomplishments of 34 Dental Hygiene graduates at a pinning ceremony at 4 p.m. on May 11, at the Conference Center @ Rio.

GED Graduation will be held May 16, at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix at 7 p.m. More than 200 graduates will participate in this year’s ceremony.

For more information visit www.riosalado.edu/graduation. For grad night photos visit Rio Salado’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/RioSaladoCollege .


Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 43,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students. It is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona and served more than 9,500 students last year.