Delgado’s Fall Commencement One for the Record Books

December 17, 2019

The largest graduating class in Delgado Community College’s 98-year history celebrated its achievements today at the UNO Lakefront Arena. The 1,542 new graduates and their families and friends were addressed by John Bel Edwards, governor of the State of Louisiana, who praised them for completing their studies and for “learning how to keep learning” for the rest of their lives.

Edwards related that he was “raised by a Charity graduate,” a reference to his mother, a registered nurse educated at the Delgado Charity School of Nursing. Edwards used his election as Louisiana governor and his recent re-election to point out that being told that a goal is unreachable does not mean that it is.

Edwards has visited Delgado numerous times since becoming governor in 2016, including participating in the 2019 groundbreaking for the new West Bank Campus Advanced Technology Center in Algiers and the 2018 ribbon-cutting for the new River City Site and Advanced Manufacturing Center in Avondale. He also has made on-site announcements for new investments of public funds at the Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center in New Orleans East.

All these state-of-the-art facilities, he noted, are key to achieving Delgado’s mission to provide a highly skilled, well-educated workforce for Louisiana.

Edwards delighted the attendees by sharing some of the demographic information about the graduating class: more than two-thirds of them are female; they represent 24 Louisiana parishes, 23 states and 12 countries; and they range in age from 17-72.

Other superlatives highlighted by Governor Edwards included the Delgado Allied Health Division, the largest healthcare educator in the state as well as one of the largest in the nation. He recognized the Delgado Charity School of Nursing as one of the top producers of two-year RN graduates nationwide. The Delgado fine arts programs were commended by Edwards, and the governor noted that Delgado Head Baseball Coach Joe Scheuermann was elected to the National Junior College Athletic Association hall of fame after more than 1,000 career wins. Also, Edwards commented that the Delgado River City Site’s workforce welding program is “bursting at the seams” with new students.

Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib, speaking at her first Commencement as Delgado chancellor, congratulated the new alumni and their families. She and Dr. Mostofa Sarwar, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and Delgado provost, presided over the ceremonies that were attended by about 4,000 and lasted just over two hours. 

Nursing, allied health, technical and business degrees and certificates topped the list of the 1,596 credentials earned by the graduates. Some graduates earned multiple credentials, making that count higher than the total number of graduates. General studies degrees and certificates went to more than 600 graduates, many of whom will transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

Of today's 1,542 graduates, 109 Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members were awarded $1,000-$2,000 annual scholarships by Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) and 51 were awarded $1,000-$3,000 annual scholarships to Louisiana State University (LSU). A total of 59 students accepted their awards in person at today’s ceremony. Both universities sent representatives to make formal presentations before the assembled graduating class, the Delgado faculty, and guests. Dr. David Adegboye, vice chancellor for academic and evening and weekend affairs, represented SUNO. Jimmie M. Woods Sr., a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, represented LSU.

Kristopher LaMorte, professor of theater, gave a note-perfect reading of each graduate’s name as the students crossed the stage to be greeted by Dr. Steib. Platform dignitaries, in addition to the College’s deans and vice chancellors, included Ed Marshall representing the Delgado Foundation Board, Elizabeth Shaye Hope representing the Delgado Faculty Senate, Viet Tran representing the Delgado Student Government Association and Koren E. Thornton representing the Delgado Alumni Association.

Jesse Boyd, associate professor of music, conducted the Delgado Ceremonial Ensemble in Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates and faculty marched into the arena. The musicians performed several other numbers including a medley called “Second Line/Saints” that incorporated the melody of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the unofficial theme song of Delgado Community College and a beloved anthem for the people of the New Orleans region, with its famous call to “be in that number.”


John Bel Edwards Delgado Graduation
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards delivers the Delgado Community College Fall Commencement address on Dec. 17 at UNO Arena. Photo by Frank Aymami.


About Delgado Community College

Delgado Community College will celebrate 100 years of service to the New Orleans region in 2021. The oldest and largest community college in Louisiana, Delgado provides instruction online and at seven locations. Fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Delgado offers students the most comprehensive array of education and training services available in the 10-parish New Orleans region. Additionally, Delgado has articulation agreements with most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities that allow students to smoothly transfer their Delgado credits to bachelor’s degree programs. As well as offering degrees and transferable college credits, Delgado provides diplomas and certificates in many professional and technical areas. Workforce development is a priority at Delgado, hence the college’s well-known motto: “Education That Works.”