The 26th commencement ceremony for Carroll Community College will bring Carroll Hospital President Leslie Simmons to address the graduates as their commencement speaker.
Marta Cruz-Alicea, who will be receiving her Associate of Science in Nursing will give the Student Response on behalf of her fellow graduates.
The ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 29 at 3 p.m. in the Gill Center on the campus of McDaniel College in Westminster.
Simmons has held leadership roles at Carroll Hospital for nearly 20 years and is involved in the leadership of statewide health care initiatives and healthcare associations, including the Maryland Hospital Association and the Maryland Organization of Nurse Executives. She was appointed by the governor to the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council.
College President James D. Ball said in a news release that Simmons’ “unwavering commitment to helping both our students and her staff to achieve their dreams will inspire our graduates to reach beyond what they thought possible.”
“Simmons works closely with the college, as its graduates are a pipeline for nurses and other health care workers for Carroll Hospital and other facilities in the LifeBridge Health system,” according to the release.
In addition to being a nursing student, Cruz-Alicea, 42, is a Westminster resident and mother of three daughters. She has dreamed of being a nurse since she was 17 years old and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“The doctors and nurses were so compassionate I knew that I wanted to do that for others,” she is quoted saying in the release. “I want to become an oncology nurse and support others going through what I have been through.”
During her journey to graduation, she overcame both a brain tumor and a battle with breast cancer.
“She wants to impart the message to her fellow graduates that suffering from defeat does not mean you are defeated, and that obstacles show us how strong we are and can serve as powerful motivators to achieve our goals,” according to the release.