DRYDEN — Tompkins Cortland Community College graduated 596 people Thursday in it class of 2019, the school’s 50th commencement.
Graduates came from Cortland, Tompkins and Tioga counties, South, Carolina, Hawaii and the Dominican Republic.
The youngest graduate is 17; the oldest 68. The class had two siblings, a mother and son, a parent of a college staff member, two spouses and 21 military veterans.
“We all have one thing in common: we’re graduates,” said Chad Miller, a student trustee at the college, as he outlined seven categories of students and asked graduates to stand if the label applied to them.
By the end of the list, every graduate was standing. The activity, he said, “highlights diversity.”
“Education is important,” said Ray Schlather, chairman of TC3’s board of trustees. “Education is the bedrock of civilized society.”
The ceremony introduced a bevy of award winners, several scholarships and recognitions for students. And then the graduates tossed their caps.
“It’s not the end of time, it’s the beginning of time,” Schlather said. “Many of you will make a huge difference and we’re all going to benefit from that.”