An audience estimated at 12,000 that included 900 graduates, family members, guests, college trustees, faculty and staff, crowded the Palace of Auburn Hills for OCC’s 47th commencement.
More than a third of the class of 2013 – 1,124 graduates – earned University Transfer Degrees in business, liberal arts and science. Another 949 were awarded Associate of Applied Science Degrees. Known as “career degrees,” these diplomas provide graduates with entry-level credentials in 160 professions including accounting, the culinary arts, robotics and nursing.
The balance of the graduating class received associate's degrees in general studies and one-year certificates in fields such as computer information systems, technology, medical assisting and licensed practical nursing. More than 200 graduates were awarded multiple degrees and certificates.
OCC Chancellor Tim Meyer introduced the college’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2013, Michigan House Representative Mike McCready of the 40th District. McCready attended OCC from 1978 to 1981 before transferring to Western Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Business Administration. McCready characterized himself as a “proud OCC student.”
This year’s commencement speaker was Hajj Flemings, founder of Brand Camp University, the second largest personal branding conference in the Midwest with operations in Boston, New York, Las Vegas and Austin. His clients include Walt Disney Productions, Pitney Bowes, the U.S. Department of Defense, Iowa State University, the University of Michigan-Ross School of Business, Davidson College and the University of Detroit.
Flemings has been featured in the CNN documentary “Black in America 4: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley,” the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Mashable and CNN Money.
Flemings invited participants to use their mobile devices during the event and tweet messages thanking OCC faculty and staff, and wishing their classmates farewell.
Characterizing OCC as a “vehicle for change,” Flemings observed that the graduates “came to the college as raw material, but leave as a refined product.” He concluded by urging the graduates to “take your game to the next level” and be “thought leaders.”
OCC is the largest of Michigan’s 28 community colleges and the 23rdlargest in the nation. The college offers degrees and certificates in more than 160 fields including university transfer and general studies degrees.