WESTMINSTER -- Full-throttle on the road to independence, Carroll Community College will hold its first commencement ceremony for the students completing their associate degrees there this year.
Also, enrollment so far is up by 13 percent over last year among full-time students, with more students expected to show up for last-minute registration by Sept. 2, said Faye Pappalardo, assistant to the executive dean and director of student affairs.
She said she expects enrollment to hit 2,700 this year, compared with about 2,300 last year.
"We're delighted with the enrollment increase," Dr. Pappalardo said. "We only wish we had the staff to keep up with it."
The college will not have to turn away any students, she said, but state budget cuts don't allow hiring the additional staff it needs. Classes might have to be a bit larger than the 25-person average, she said, and counselors and advisers might have larger loads.
The Carroll campus on Washington Road is a branch of Catonsville Community College, but has petitioned the state for independence by July 1. Regardless of what happens on the independence, Carroll will hold its own commencement May 26.
Until this year, people who took all their courses at the college went to Catonsville to take part in a cap-and-gown ceremony with other graduates of that larger college and their diplomas didn't mention Carroll Community College, said Executive Dean Joseph F. Shields.
The diplomas to be handed out May 26 will say something like "Carroll Community College, a branch of Catonsville Community College," Dr. Shields said.
The ceremony will be held at the Western Maryland College field house because CCC has no place large enough for more than 250 graduates and their families, Dr. Shields said.
Among future goals Dr. Shields has set for the college is an outdoor amphitheater in the woods beside the building. He hopes to raise about $20,000 from private sources for the amphitheater, he said.
The commencement ceremony, diplomas and move toward independence all signal a landmark year for the college.
"We have our work cut out for us," Dr. Shields said.