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News Contact:
Cathy Summa-Wolfe
, Director
Communications & Community Relations

East Africa to College of Marin: Grad Speaker to Share Journey

Tsedal “Sadie” Agidew Plans to Study Gender, Women’s Studies & Human Rights

Kentfield, CA—May 23, 2011–On her long journey from Eastern Africa, College of Marin student commencement speaker Tsedal “Sadie” Agidew has learned the importance of celebrating today’s achievements and will encourage her peers to do the same at the Saturday morning ceremony.
COM’s 84th Commencement
Date: Saturday, May 28
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Diamond P.E. Center Gymnasium, Kentfield Campus
Speaker: Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz, Ed.D., founding executive director of Education, Excellence & Equity (E3) and consultant, trainer, and writer specializing in areas related to immigration, youth, and education; and graduating student Tsedal “Sadie” Agidew, a student ambassador for the college.
Faculty Grand Marshal 2011: Sara McKinnon, Senate president
Information: or Student Affairs: (415) 485-9376
“If you had told me 10 years ago that I would graduate from a community college in Marin and then transfer to UC Berkeley, I would have laughed at you,” she says, noting that “life has a way of being unpredictable and keeping you surprised.”

Agidew, 21, has come a long way from home to pursue her educational dreams. Born in Kenya to Ethiopian parents, she moved with her family to Ethiopia then, to Colorado to finish high school. She began College of Marin in 2008 and will pursue a major in Gender and Women’s Studies and a minor in Human Rights. Navigating cultures in childhood has given her a unique perspective, she says. While at College of Marin, Agidew served as a student ambassador sharing her gregarious and generous spirit with peers and campus visitors as well as working with outreach programs in the community.

“It’s awesome to be able to encourage students to pursue higher education whether it’s getting a degree or certificate,” she says, noting that it is “bittersweet” to leave College of Marin. “COM has become home. It’s almost scary thinking it’s over.” On Saturday, she will tell about her peers to expect the very best from their futures.

College of Marin’s Superintendent/President Dr. David Wain Coon notes all that it has taken for Agidew to complete her studies at College of Marin and transfer to a four-year university. “Sadie is an inspiration for all students who work hard, persevere, overcome and achieve,” said Coon. “We are very proud of Sadie and of all our students who are completing their COM journey and will now begin the next phase of their lives.”
About 120 of the 273 students receiving degrees are expected to participate in the ceremony on Saturday. College of Marin will be awarding 152 associate in arts degrees, 79 associate in science degrees and 60 certificates. Some students have earned more than one of the above. The youngest graduate is Brian Wheaton, 17, who also earned the Irwin P. Diamond Outstanding Graduate Award for earning the highest GPA of all transfer students. The oldest graduate is Gisela A. Buckmaster, 75.

“There is excitement for what is to come next,” Agidew says. “Tomorrow, our paths again will continue in new routes, leading us to new places and where we will all end up, who knows?”

College of Marin’s 84th Commencement Program

COM’s 84th Commencement will take place on Saturday, May 28, at 10 a.m. in the Diamond PE Center gymnasium, on the Kentfield Campus.

Superintendent/President David Wain Coon, Ed.D. will welcome the graduating class. Dean of Workforce Development, College and Community Partnerships Nanda Schorske, will introduce the student speaker: Tsedal Agidew. President of the Board of Trustees Diana Conti will introduce the commencement address speaker: JuanCarlos Arauz, Ed.D. Schorske will present the graduating class. Dr. Coon will confer the degrees and certificates. Academic Senate President Sara McKinnon will give the closing address.

Guests may arrive between 9 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. No tickets are required. For more information, contact Student Affairs at (415) 485-9376 or visit

About College of Marin
College of Marin has been providing exceptional educational opportunities for students of all ages since fall 1926. The College administration is located in Kentfield, CA. The college also operates the Indian Valley Campus in Novato, CA. College of Marin is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

84th Commencement Program

  • Musical Selections
    College of Marin Symphonic Band
    Douglas Delaney, M.M., Director
  • Processional
    March from Tannhauser by Richard Wagner
    College of Marin Symphonic Band
    Douglas Delaney, M.M., Director
  • Opening of Commencement
    Sara McKinnon, Academic Senate President
  • National Anthem
    Soloist, Jesse McMillin, College of Marin Student
  • Welcome
    David Wain Coon, Ed.D., Superintendent/President
  • Introduction of Student Speaker
    Nanda Schorske, Dean of Workforce Development, College and Community Partnerships
  • Student Address
    Tsedal Agidew
  • Introduction of keynote Speaker
    Diana Conti, President of the Board of Trustees
  • Commencement Address
    Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz
  • Presentation of the Graduates
    Nanda Schorske, Dean of Workforce Development, College and Community Partnerships
  • Conferring of Associate Degrees, Certificates, and Certificates of Completion
    David Wain Coon, Ed.D., Superintendent/President
  • Closing of Commencement
    Sara McKinnon, Academic Senate President
  • Recessional
    ”Pomp and Circumstance” Sir Edward Elgar
    College of Marin Symphonic Band
    Douglas Delaney, M.M., Director

Keynote Speaker Biography
JuanCarlos Arauz, Ed.D. International and Multicultural Education
Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz is a noted presenter on immigration, youth and education, and provides cultural competency training for educators and organizations. He has been featured in a documentary that focuses on contemporary civil rights activists and has traveled around the country as an inspirational storyteller.

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