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
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