Merced College Honors 61st Class of Graduates


Over this past week, more than 700 excited and hard-working Merced College students (out of nearly 1,200 eligible graduates) walked across the stage in front of friends and family members to receive their diplomas, signaling the end of this massive step in their journeys.  Notably, for the second year, the Westside campus in Los Banos was given its own ceremony where nearly 100 graduates participated. Throughout the ceremonies, numerous Merced College officials, special guests, and standout students were given a chance to speak on the momentous occasion.

“Merced College is home to some of the most talented, dedicated and resilient students you’ll ever meet, and we are so excited to celebrate their accomplishments,” President Chris Vitelli said. “Whether they’re transferring to prestigious four-year universities, beginning their careers, or advancing within their chosen fields, the future is bright for the Class of 2024.

“The short end of the story is, you made it. And the future is brighter because of your resilience. As the great philosopher Jack Harlow once rapped, ‘I want it all, that’s why I strive for it. Dissent is the wave, I’m just along for the ride. Every loss I took made me gladder to fight.’ You’ve been striving for success throughout your time here, taking every challenge in stride, and now you’re ready to go after everything you’ve dreamed of and more. This is just the beginning and the best is yet to come.

“It is a special moment for you, your family and friends as it represents a significant milestone and turning point in your life. We are very proud of you, and we want you to know that we understand the gravity of this accomplishment in your life. For many of you, tonight represents a better future, a prosperous beginning, a pathway out of poverty, and a steppingstone to your career or next pursuit in higher education. It is my sincere hope that you leave here tonight not only proud of your personal achievements, but also with a sense of pride in your newest alma mater, Merced College. I hope you’ll cherish your experiences and always remember the quality team of professionals, from the student support services staff to the instructional faculty, to those who help keep our campuses safe, clean, and beautiful who have contributed to your success.”

Carmen Ramirez, the president of the Merced College Board of Trustees, said: “I’d like to congratulate all of our amazing graduates, who are joining the thousands of Merced College alumni who have improved their lives and our communities through education. We also extend our gratitude to all the family members and loved ones who have supported them along the way, and the incredible faculty and classified professionals who work so hard every day to ensure their success.”

This year’s student speaker, Mariah Carrasco, spoke about the importance of relationships in academic success.

“Today, we gather to celebrate not just the end of a chapter but the beginning of countless stories yet to be told,” she said. “Each of you sits here today with a unique narrative, woven through the courses you’ve taken, the projects you’ve labored over, and the relationships you’ve built. Today, these narratives converge into a shared milestone—one that speaks to perseverance, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge.

“At Merced College, you’ve been part of a community that values diversity, collaboration, and resilience. These are not just abstract terms but practical skills you’ve lived out day by day. You’ve worked late hours, balanced studies with jobs, cared for families, and still made it to class, armed with the determination to succeed.

“It’s important to recognize that today does not just represent a personal victory but a communal triumph. The support of your professors, the encouragement of your peers, and the unwavering belief of your loved ones have all played a part in this moment. This network of support will continue to be your foundation as you move forward.

“Congratulations, graduates of Merced College. Go forward with courage, with purpose, and most of all, with hope.”

In total, 3,550 degrees and certificates were earned by 1,960 Merced College students for the 2023-24 academic year. Remarkably, this is the highest recorded total since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Class of 2024 includes 508 students who graduated with honors; having earned a grade-point average of 3.50 or better with a minimum of 45 units completed. Forty of these students were able to earn the Superintendent’s Honors by maintaining a GPA of 4.0 with a minimum of 36 units completed.

If you would like to view the programs for the ceremonies, they are available online via their website:


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