Wave Staff Report
CULVER CITY — West Los Angeles College will hold its 50th commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. June 5 that not only marks the official start of a 12-month celebration of the college’s golden anniversary, but it will be a historical first.
This year is the first time that West L.A. College confers bachelor’s degrees and the college will award 29 such degrees, the most by any community college in California, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
Speakers helping to mark the occasion will include state Sen. Holly Mitchell, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez and LACCD board member Gabriel Buelna.
West L.A. College is one of 15 California community colleges that were authorized by the State Chancellor’s Office in 2014 to offer a bachelor’s degree program. The new degree in dental hygiene was launched in 2016 and is an expansion of the college’s existing associate’s degree program.
The college’s dental hygiene program, established in 1973, has had a consistent record of 100 percent of its graduates passing the professional exam. The program was recently awarded a Strong Workforce Gold Star by the State Chancellor’s Office in recognition of recent graduates realizing a 303 percent increase in earnings; 78 percent attaining at least a regional living wage; and 100 percent employed in a job similar to their field of study.
West Los Angeles College opened in 1969 with incomplete construction during record-breaking rainfall. Since its founding, the college has served more than 250,000 students and issued more than 21,000 degrees and certificates. Approximately 1,500 degrees and certificates are expected to be awarded this year.
West L.A. College offers 24 associate degrees for transfer, a joint program with the California State Universities, also known as “a degree with a guarantee.” It also offers more than 50 career path programs including health care professions, computer science, business, aviation technology and the unique film/television production program celebrating its 20th year. The program prepares students for entry-level union trade craft positions.
“Our slogan for the 50th anniversary celebration is ‘50 Strong and Growing,’ and it certainly encapsulates the excitement on campus,” college President James Limbaugh said. “Two new buildings will break ground within the next four months, we’ve maintained or surpassed enrollment projections for the past three years, new academic programs are being developed, we are currently in the design phase for a new library/learning center, we have established strong relationships with Culver City and the surrounding region, and our faculty and staff are uniform in their devotion to student success.”