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Copper Mountain College Commencement: Class of 2023
May 25 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony
Copper Mountain College’s Commencement Ceremony for all 2023 graduates will be held Thursday, May 25, at 5:45 in the Bell Center Gymnasium on the CMC campus in Joshua Tree. CMC has a total of 232 eligible graduates from Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters.
The Commencement Processional begins at 6 p.m., with welcome remarks from Daren Otten, Ed.D, Superintendent/President of Copper Mountain College, the posting of colors by the MCAGCC USMC Color Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by CMC’s 2022 Greenleaf Scholar Juliana Jimenez. Juliana is a Yucca Valley High School graduate pursuing a degree in Sociology and interning in Public Relations and Marketing. She is the host of Copper Mountain College’s weekly “News from the Mountain,” radio show on KCDZ FM..
Our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, will be sung by Jasmine Shaffer. Jasmine is CMC’s Program Assistant for the CalWORKs and Fostering Success programs here on campus. She is a CMC Alumna from the Class of 2021, and will be graduating from the University of California, Riverside, next month with a BA in Sociology. She plans to go to graduate school to obtain a Master’s in Public Policy and a Master’s in Social Work.
CMC’s Land Acknowledgement statement will be delivered by General Counselor and Articulation Officer Krystal Avila and General Counselor: Military Affiliated and Veteran’s Services Marissa Salomon. The statement was developed with input from local tribal partners and campus constituent groups to recognize the historical inhabitants of the lands that the college and our communities occupy.
The Faculty Commencement Address will be delivered by Chloe Allred. Chloe is a painter, writer, and educator based in Yucca Valley. Her paintings and writing have been featured in Orange Coast Magazine, Huffington Post, USA Today, and the BBC. She is an art professor at Copper Mountain College. Her artwork ranges from surreal portraits to whimsical still life paintings. Her passion for CMC’s students is an inspiration for both students, and all who work with her at the college.
Harmony Hill will be the Honor Graduate Speaker. Harmony was born and raised in Twentynine Palms and is graduating with an associate degree in psychology and another associate degree in social and behavioral science as a concurrent enrollment student. This fall, Harmony will be attending Duke University for Economics.
The 2023 Copper Mountain College Commencement Keynote Speaker is Heather Benes. Heather was born in California and raised on Catalina Island. In 1991, she moved to Yucca Valley and graduated from Yucca Valley High School.
Following high school she joined the United States Marine Corps for the next decade. She served in Operation Desert Storm and spent six months at Camp Henson, Japan, and eventually, after a life-changing accident, left the USMC as a Staff Sergeant.
In 2002, Heather began attending Copper Mountain College using her GI Bill benefits. She raised a family and has been teaching full time since 2007. In 2019, she was honored and recognized as College of the Desert’s faculty of the year.
This commencement marks Heather’s 20-year AA graduation anniversary from CMC.