LTCC Celebrates Grads’ “Grit” at 47th Graduation Ceremony

June 29, 2022

Watch the Full Graduation Ceremony on YouTube

The forty-seventh annual Lake Tahoe Community College graduation ceremony was held Friday evening, June 24, on LTCC’s synthetic turf soccer field. The focus of this year’s ceremony was celebrating the grit and determination demonstrated by this graduating class to reach this day.

Several speakers touched on this idea, honoring the nearly 250 degree and certificate earners at LTCC who rose above the uncertainty and ambiguity of recent years to meet their educational and personal goals.

LTCC President Jeff DeFranco with keynote speaker Martoinne WilliamsIn his remarks to graduates, LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco said, “Most of you have been with us through the COVID pandemic and shutdown, and the resultant move to remote learning. You then faced the smoke-filled skies, the fires, the evacuations, and the delayed start of fall classes, followed by snowstorms and power outages that closed the campus for two out of four days of final exam days last fall. You demonstrated to all of us your commitment to excellence, your grit, and your adaptability by reaching this milestone moment. These are only the first of the lessons that life will teach you. There will be mistakes made, and hard-won gains will sometimes be lost, but learning from these difficult moments and moving forward despite them will distinguish you from those who stumble, fall, lose hope, and then choose not to get back up again.”

Keynote speaker Martoinne Williams, one of the college’s TEDx South Lake Tahoe featured speakers in 2021, also acknowledged all that had to be overcome in the 2021/22 academic year to reach this milestone day.

“You all have had many defining moments, some that maybe you planned for and others that caught you by surprise,” said Williams. “You have crushed your moments! COVID could not stop you. Wildfires could not stop you. Mask mandates could not stop you. As you enter into this next phase of life, you will find that there are moments waiting for you. In the moments that matter, you must be a person of courage, servanthood, and perseverance.”

Approximately 210 students graduated with their Associate degrees from LTCC this academic year. Another 31 students earned their Certificates of Achievement, and 23 cadets graduated from the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy housed at LTCC. Forty-five of these students graduated as part of LTCC’s Lake Tahoe College Promise program, which gives eligible students up to three years tuition free, along with a host of other support services and free textbooks, technology, mentoring and tutoring, personalized counseling, and more.

Also receiving their degrees this year were four UMass Global (formerly Brandman University) students who earned their credentials through LTCC’s Lisa Maloff University Center. Two students were awarded Bachelor of Art in Liberal Studies degrees, two more earned their multiple subject teaching credentials, and another two earned their Master of Art in Teaching degrees.

LTCC offers advanced degrees and credentialing in a number of subjects through its partnerships with UMass Global, Washington State University Global Campus, and Sierra Nevada University/University of Nevada, Reno. Information about these programs and scholarships for students to use to attend them can be found at

LTCC Student Senate President Bruno Macias, who was selected to speak on behalf of all of LTCC’s 2022 graduating students, gave a deeply personal and moving speech about embracing failure as a path toward reaching growth and success.

“All of us have accomplished something that we can be proud of, where we feel that high of success that makes us feel so great and mighty,” said Macias. “But never forget about failure, especially the humiliating and painful power of failure. The power of failure is something that can truly transform us to not only become better as people, but to open the gates to a multitude of successes.”

Dr. Wynn Walker with LTCC President Jeff DeFrancoThe annual Student Choice Award, given to a faculty member selected by LTCC’s students, was also presented during the graduation ceremony. This year’s winner was math faculty member Dr. Wynn Walker. In selecting her, students wrote about Dr. Walker being, “Highly encouraging and active when it comes to the success of her students. I feel immense support when it comes to the course material and personal issues. I've always felt I could reach out if I had any questions.”

President DeFranco added, “Wynn has been a leader in the implementation of embedded tutoring and continues to explore innovative ways to incorporate tutors into her classroom. She is always pushing herself, asking to take on new classes, learning new skills and approaches to teaching, and has a positive, thoughtful and strategic approach to the math pedagogy. She truly puts students first.”

LTCC’s graduation ceremony video is available to watch on the college's YouTube page. Graduates and their families who are sharing photos and videos via social media are asked to please use the hashtag “LTCCgrad” in their posts so all of the great moments can be shared. Free, professional photos of all the graduates will be available to download on LTCC's graduation webpage.