CCAC invites the Class of 2021 and the wider community to tune in to Virtual Commencement on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County will hold a 2021 Virtual Commencement celebration on Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m. The ceremony, which will include the reading of graduates’ names, will be streamed on the college’s YouTube channel. Graduates, their families and friends are invited to watch the ceremony on their computer or device and to participate in the celebration through social media.
The CCAC Class of 2021 comprises 2,615 graduates earning Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees, certificates and diplomas in nearly 150 programs. Individuals who will offer congratulatory messages to the Class of 2020 include County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; CCAC President Dr. Quintin Bullock; CCAC Board of Trustees Chair Mona Generett, PhD; CCAC Provost and Executive Vice President Stuart Blacklaw, PhD; CCAC Associate Professor Amie Erickson (faculty speaker); and CCAC Graduate and Student Trustee Brandon Cunningham (student reflections speaker).
The following graduates are available for interviews:
Brandon Cunningham—Associate of Science in General Studies, Certificate in Business
Cunningham has earned Honors credits, and he is the student reflections speaker for the CCAC Class of 2021. As a member of CCAC’s Men of Merit Initiative, he discovered his potential as a scholar and future leader. His leadership roles at CCAC include serving as president for the past year of Sigma Omicron, the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter at Boyce Campus. In this role, he encouraged more students to become engaged and involved in PTK, the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students. As a Student Ambassador, he welcomed visitors to campus events, and he helped to lead the reorganization of the campus food pantry and to plan a variety of campus activities. As the student trustee for the 2020–2021 academic year, Cunningham presented the ideas and opinions of his fellow students to the board in an effort to improve the college and help the student body. He is looking forward to addressing the Class of 2021 and the board for the final time at CCAC’s Commencement Ceremony. Cunningham plans to continue his involvement in student leadership activities at Point Park University, which has awarded him the college’s Certificate of Merit Scholarship. At the university, he will pursue his goal of earning a bachelor’s in Sports Management and becoming a coach or an athletic director.
Erin F. McClain—Associate of Science in Mathematics & Sciences
McClain is graduating with highest honors and an Honors Degree. She has been named the 2021 Honors Student of the Year in the Two-Year Institution category by the Northeast Regional Honors Council, and she has distinguished herself by earning 21 credits in Honors. She presented her research project, “Advocacy Beyond Earth Day: Persistent Pollution, Poverty and Public Health,” at the 2021 NRHC Conference. McClain volunteered as a CCAC Student Ambassador for 2020–2021 and as a Student Member of the Conduct Hearing Board. Her service projects in Honors include helping to organize the Ronald McDonald House Leadership project for the Honors India Study Abroad trip and the Homeless Children’s Educational Foundation. Her leadership roles include serving as co-president of the Alpha Iota Eta chapter of PTK, and she was named Hall of Honor Chapter Officer at the PTK Middle States Convention in March. In cooperation with the college administration, she organized the PTK College Project whereby the chapter created Student Success Quick Guides. The project was recognized both regionally and internationally with a Distinguished College Project award. McClain’s volunteerism extends into the community, where her most recent volunteer role is serving as a director on the board of Preservation Pittsburgh. She has been accepted by the University of Pennsylvania, where she will study climate change and creative writing.
Kerry Katz—Associate of Science in Mathematics & Sciences
Katz is graduating with high honors and has earned Honors credits. She has been named Pennsylvania’s 2021 New Century Transfer Scholar, and she was also named to the prestigious All-USA Academic Team. All-USA Academic Team members were selected from among 2,000 students nationwide for their outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership, and community and campus engagement. As the president of the Alpha Mu Theta chapter of PTK, Katz has spearheaded several successful projects, including a preelection Q&A with representatives from the Allegheny County Board of Elections, during which students and faculty learned how voting procedures were being adapted for the general election in the era of COVID-19. She and her team of PTK officers also led a fundraising campaign for the Allegheny Campus Cupboard food pantry. Outside of school, Katz volunteers as a docent at the National Aviary and at Humane Animal Rescue in Pittsburgh. She will transfer to California University of Pennsylvania this fall to pursue a bachelor’s in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. She plans to obtain a master’s as well, and she is looking forward to beginning a career in conservation to contribute to habitat restoration and the protection of at-risk species.