SMCC held the 77th commencement and awarded 1,171 degrees and certificates

On Sunday, hundreds of students graduated from Southern Maine Community College, accompanied by family, friends, faculty, and staff.

2024 CommencementA total of 1,089 students earned 1,171 degrees and certificates, many of which were awarded at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Sunday. The Class of 2024 was one of SMCC’s largest graduating classes in the institution’s 77-year history. Maine Governor Janet Mills served as the featured speaker.

Among the graduates was Katrina Fowler of Freeport, Maine, who earned her Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts at SMCC. Katrina, who came to SMCC because of Maine’s Free College Scholarship, had some incredible experiences in the program, including a trip to Norway to learn from some of the best chefs in Europe.

“Having the opportunity to go overseas and train because of partnerships SMCC builds for students was special,” Katrina said. “I was in the kitchen that I’m used to with the practices that I’m used to doing, so there was a sense of comfort. Being in their non-English classroom kitchen was amazing and an entirely new experience I’ll never forget. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m honored I was able to represent SMCC.” Fowler is moving to Alaska at the end of May to become a fishing lodge chef. 


The Class of 2024 included students from 15 of the 16 counties in Maine. They also come from four other New England states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Our graduates also come from 33 countries outside the United States: Angola, Australia, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, China, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Iraq, Jamaica, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Panama, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

PHOTO GALLERY | (Full gallery available soon)

“Today, we celebrated the remarkable achievements of SMCC graduates and were reminded of the power of the SMCC community,” said SMCC President Dr. Kristen Miller. “As I presided over my first Commencement as president, I witnessed our institution’s impact on our students’ lives. Our programs have empowered students and equipped them with the skills they need to achieve their goals. We’re thrilled to witness them transition into the workforce or pursue further education, entering environments where they can deeply influence their chosen fields while positively impacting the lives of others.”

Governor Mills told the Class of 2024, “Wherever you go, however winding your path, I hope that your future includes our state. Whether you are from here, from another state, or another country, whether you intend to leave and come back or not leave at all, there is a world of opportunity right here in Maine for you.”

“You will always be a son or daughter of Maine,” she continued. “Wherever you roam, if roam you will, upon your return, as upon your first arrival, and even if you never leave, we will greet you with a hearty hug and a loud “Welcome Home!”

One student who benefited from the Mills Administration’s Maine Recovery & Jobs Plan is Angela Holden of South Paris, Maine. Angela earned a Medical Assisting Apprenticeship Certificate through a partnership with her employer, MaineHealth. 

“SMCC empowered me to transform my life. Through MaineHealth Western Maine Family Medicine’s support, I pursued the medical assisting apprenticeship program, fueled by my desire to provide a better future for my family. Despite challenges, including family living separately after a natural disaster, SMCC, my friends, family, and co-workers at Western Maine provided unwavering support,” Angela said. “Today, I’m a proud full-time medical assistant with a new home and restored hope. I’m grateful for the opportunities and support that paved my path to success.” 

SMCC’s Class of 2024 graduates are continuing their education at the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine, the University of New England, St. Joseph’s College, and other Maine institutions, as well as at private and public institutions such as Bentley, Mount Holyoke, and Smith.

One student who will continue their education and transfer their SMCC credits is SeaWolves volleyball player Breanna Kerr from Lawrenceville, Georgia. Breanna is graduating with an Associate of Science in Business Administration. 

“I’m so thankful for my experience at SMCC,” Breanna said. “I learned so much at very little cost, saving me a lot of money. Participating in athletics added so much to my educational experience.” While at SMCC, Breanna’s athletic accolades included Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) All-Academic Team and Outstanding Conference Player and she was a member of the United States Collegiate Athletics Association Academic All-American. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned at SMCC and continue on to study international business and logistics and also participate in athletics at Maine Maritime Academy this fall.”