The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) recognized 649 candidates for 

degrees and certificates during its 15th Winter Commencement held Jan. 

16 at the La Plata Campus.

“Each one of our graduates has a story and we are proud of each and 

every one of them. Each one has so much potential and it is our 

responsibility to prepare them to be successful in achieving their 

future goals,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

Gottfried told students that he is impressed at the perseverance of 

students who have completed their studies while working, raising 

families and volunteering in the community.

“You have chosen to make sacrifices in your life now in order to 

invest in a more promising future. We hope you stay part of this 

college, your college, and to your community. This is now your alma 

mater and we take great pride in your accomplishments,” Gottfried 


The college awarded 625 associate degrees and 298 certificates: 40.4 

percent of the students receiving awards are from Charles County, 30.2 

percent are from St. Mary’s County and 24.7 percent are from Calvert 

County while 4.8 percent are from outside of the region. One-quarter of 

all associate degree candidates for graduation earned a 3.5 grade point 

average or higher.

The ceremony marked CSM’s milestone of its largest winter graduating 

class. Associate degrees were awarded predominantly in the fields of 

general studies, business administration, and arts and sciences, while 

general studies: transfer and advanced and basic accounting topped the 

list as the most popular certificates. Of the graduates, more than 64 

percent are female, the oldest graduate is 71 and the youngest graduate 

is 17.

Oldest Graduate

Graduate Eileene Zimmer, of Waldorf, at age 71 earned an associate 

degree in Arts and Sciences: Mathematics/Physics. Although Zimmer 

previously had earned a bachelor’s degree in food science and nutrition 

from Brigham Young University in Utah and a master’s degree in 

industrial and labor relations from Cornell University in New York, she 

wanted to pursue a field that she had struggled with at the beginning of 

her academic pursuits.

“I stopped taking math after not doing well in pre-calculus [in my 

early college experience]. I thought I would try to go back and try 

again after receiving a notice for an open house at CSM,” said Zimmer. 

In January 2011, she registered for college algebra.

Zimmer received support from her four sons. “One said, ‘Why are you 

doing this?’ and one I inspired to return to give calculus another 

chance,” said Zimmer. Another son is a mathematics instructor who she 

will lean on when she returns to CSM to take a course in linear algebra 

this spring. Zimmer said that she wants to be an example to her 

grandchildren that learning doesn’t end when you have a 

family—learning doesn’t ever have to end.

Zimmer is applying for tutoring jobs and when she completes the second 

part of “Concepts of Geometry