Dr. Jill Biden
Contact: Alex Lyda;
For immediate release — June 10, 2021
(DALLAS) — The nation’s first lady will address the first-ever group of students to graduate from the new Dallas College this year in specially prepared remarks that will be aired during commencement ceremonies June 24 to June 26.
The group of students is the first to receive official diplomas from Dallas College, following the name change and the July 2020 unification of the seven separate colleges that were formerly the Dallas County Community College District.
As part of a commencement congratulatory message, Dr. Biden is expected to thank Dallas College Chancellor Joe May and the board of trustees for the opportunity and for their effort to re-imagine the landscape of higher education in Dallas County. She first connected with Dallas College leadership in 2018, when she visited Dallas for the launch of Dallas County Promise.
As an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, Dr. Biden has an intimate understanding of the power community colleges hold. Community colleges, like Dallas College, meet students where they are, Dr. Biden says. “The chance to go to college is life-changing for students and their families. We can’t afford to exclude so many from continuing their education just because they come from certain areas or income brackets.”
As the first in-person graduating class since the pandemic, these students — 11,647 in all — and their families will also be celebrated for all that they have overcome to successfully complete degrees and certificates during a pandemic. Last year, they abruptly transitioned to online learning to complete their programs of study and persevered through a period of tremendous economic and civic strife that brought additional pressures, uncertainty and frustration.
As part of the commencement, the Dallas College Board of Trustees, the president from each campus, and Chancellor Joe May will join in wishing the graduates well. “We are excited to celebrate with this very special first class of Dallas College students,” said Dr. Joe May. “These remarkable students overcame so much to arrive at this moment, and we are thankful that we are able to hold in-person ceremonies to properly celebrate their achievements. We also acknowledge how special it is to have Dr. Jill Biden in her role as our First Lady – and a community college professor – offer her personal congratulations to our students.”
The commencement ceremonies will be held at Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. On a first-come, first-served basis, graduates were able to select from different times and days. Each student will be given four tickets for family members to watch in person.
Graduate Elijah Jackson will be thinking of his late mother during this time. Jackson, a criminal justice major who plans to transfer to the University of North Texas at Dallas for his bachelor’s degree, plans to become a Dallas police officer.
“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was 3. My mother passed when I was 4 years old, and I can remember telling her and my grandmother that I wanted to be a police officer, and it stuck,” he said. “I was so glad and relieved we were able to have in-person graduation. It’s a special moment; I’m the first in the family to graduate from college. It really means something.”
Additional information about Dallas College’s graduation ceremonies, including a live-stream link for those unable to attend, will be available on our
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