Column: Virtual celebration for the class of 2020

May 13, 2020

Dr. Robert Garza

As we close out another successful Spring semester and begin preparing for Summer course offerings, Palo Alto College remains committed to operating at 100% through remote teaching, learning and working.

Whether students are the first in their family to attend college or looking to continue their education, Palo Alto College has always been a place of excellence and affordability where people can pursue their goals and achieve academic success.

Obtaining an associate degree or certificate is a major academic accomplishment, and it’s traditionally celebrated by crossing a stage during a commencement ceremony. Though we cannot gather together during this era of social distancing, Palo Alto College did not want to let this moment pass without acknowledging the dedication of students who have worked so hard to complete their credential despite the unexpected obstacles presented by the current pandemic.

All month long, we celebrate the achievements of nearly 1,300 students who have reached their educational goals and have earned an Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science, and certificates of completion in the 2019-2020 academic year. In fact, more than 220 of those students will be graduating with their associate degree before receiving their high school diploma, which is a distinct value offered by our Early College High School partnerships.

Along with our college graduates, we continue to celebrate the achievements of our Adult Learning Academy students who have completed their high school equivalency preparation and testing (commonly known as GED) and who are now prepared to take the next steps in their lives.

Palo Alto College does plan to host a traditional commencement ceremony during the Fall 2020 semester when friends and family can celebrate safely together. In the meantime, we will be celebrating our 2020 graduates on Palo Alto College’s official social media accounts — including a special virtual recognition, which will premiere on the College’s Facebook and YouTube channels on Thursday, May 14, at 7 p.m.

To learn about all of the ways we are celebrating the class of 2020, visit

Whether students are transferring to a college or university or are entering the workforce to begin a career, our students continue to achieve greatness, and we are honored to be a part of their journey. Congratulations to the class of 2020!

This column by Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College, was originally published in the San Antonio Express-News' Southside Reporter and