HLC Self Study
Chapter 7 Graphic

Celebration of Achievements

Public acknowledgement and celebration of student success and employee achievement is an important part of the Estrella Mountain culture. Throughout each year, Estrella Mountain publicly commemorates the achievements of students and staff in acquiring, discovering and applying knowledge through meetings, announcements and at special events.


Estrella Mountain’s annual commencement exercises are celebratory events for students, their families and the entire campus community. The 2011 Commencement Ceremony was held on Friday, May 13, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. at the Goodyear Ballpark. Over 280 students participated in front of an audience of 3,000 family, friends and community members. Chosen by a group of graduating students, the celebration theme was Believe-Achieve-Serve-Lead.

Commencement provides the College with the opportunity to honor student achievements and reflect on Estrella Mountain as an institution of higher education. The 2011 Order of Ceremony included a welcome from the College President, a student speaker, a faculty speaker, a Governing Board member address, a student singer, and fireworks.

SouthWest Skill Center Completion Ceremony

The SouthWest Skill Center holds a separate Completion Ceremony three times a year. On Thursday, June 23, 2011, the SouthWest Skill Center presented completion certificates to 152 students. The ceremony was held at the Copper Canyon High School Performing Arts Center in Glendale  with the Vice President of Occupational Education addressing the student completers, families and friends. Two students from the medical and nursing programs addressed their classmates, and a SouthWest Skill Center employee and Estrella Mountain alumnus sang the National Anthem.

The program concluded with the traditional lamp lighting ceremony for the Practical Nursing students. Program completers celebrated during the most recent ceremony included: 27 Emergency Medical Technology completers, 29 Medical Assistants, nine Medical Billing and Coding completers, 32 Phlebotomists, 10 Spanish Medical Interpreters, 19 Nurse Assistants, and 26 Practical Nurses.

Nurse Pinning Ceremony

The Nurse Pinning Ceremony is another example of a celebration of student accomplishment. The pinning ceremony is a long-held graduation tradition that signifies the beginning of a nursing career and publicly acknowledges the successful completion of the nursing program. Estrella Mountain’s nursing program began in fall 2006 and has graduated 235 registered nurses. The program also boasts graduating 585 Practical Nurses since 2003 and 1,085 Nursing Assistants since 2001.

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Banquet

The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Banquet recognizes students who have achieved academic excellence. During this event, the College acknowledges faculty members who have served as mentors and made a significant contribution to student learning. PTK also hosts the annual All-Arizona Academic Team Honors Banquet event to honor the scholarly achievements of students from all statewide junior, technical and community colleges. Each student recognized during the banquet is awarded a full, two-year tuition waiver provided by the Arizona Board of Regents, good at any Arizona public university.

Scholarship Luncheon

The annual Estrella Mountain Scholarship Luncheon is held to honor students receiving scholarships and the donors who have made these financial resources possible. Scholarship awards illustrate the generosity of more than 40 donors, comprised of many community organizations and corporations.