On Campus
OCC's December Graduation celebration concluded with Barbara Wiggins (wearing light blue stole) and her daughter Tanisha Wiggins (holding her son Jonathan) receiving their Human Services degrees. They were joined on stage by Tanisha's sister, Alisha (wearing red and black) who completed her degree in December 2020 but didn't have a ceremony due to Covid. Joining them on stage are OCC President Dr. Warren Hilton and Provost Anastasia Urtz.
OCC's Graduation concluded with Barbara Wiggins (light blue stole) and her daughter Tanisha (holding her son) receiving their degrees. They were joined by Barbara's other daughter, Alisha (in red) whose 2020 graduation ceremony was cancelled due to Covid.

It was the perfect ending to a story years in the making. As the Wiggins family crossed the stage inside SRC Arena to receive their degrees at Onondaga Community College's December Graduation ceremony, their story was shared with the audience by Dean Karen Fabrizio: "Finally tonight, our last two graduating students. First is Barbara Wiggins. Her degree is in Human Services. Following her is her daughter, Tanisha Wiggins who is also receiving her Human Services degree. And joining them on stage with Doctor Hilton is another of Barbara's daughter's, Alisha Wiggins. Alisha graduated from OCC in December of 2020, but we did not have a December Graduation ceremony due to Covid."

"I felt like I was in heaven. I'm standing up there with both my daughters. It was just awesome," said 58-year-old Barbara Wiggins. "For us to graduate together and for OCC to recognize all of us, it was an awesome feeling."

"It was spectacular. It felt really good," added 36-year-old daughter Tanisha who carried her son Jonathan on stage with her. "This was my dream. I've been waiting for this for a long time."

The Wiggins' story was highlighted in local television news coverage on CNY Central by Multimedia Journalist Morgan Scott, and on WSYR TV Newschannel 9 by reporter Jeremy Skiba and Videographer Ben Augustine. You can watch their coverage by clicking on those links.

Including the Wiggins, a total of 242 students were eligible to participate in the ceremony. Baldwinsville High School graduate Madison "Maddy" MacLaury was selected to be the student speaker. "OCC, for me, was the perfect place to be when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next," she told her fellow graduates. "It's a welcoming place for anyone, no matter what age, or what life experiences you have. You are given an opportunity to get an education on your terms. Your life is yours to live, and you should take it at your own pace rather than let yourself be guided by other people's expectations." MacLaury earned a Humanities and Social Sciences degree in just three semesters. She is transferring to SUNY Oswego where she will focus on Human Development and Criminology.

Prior to graduation, a Nurse Pinning ceremony was held in Storer Auditorium. Each of the 19 graduating Nursing students received a pin which symbolized their hard work and dedication towards their coursework and clinicals. As they crossed the stage to receive their pins, their stories of perseverance and success were shared with the audience. One of the graduates was Jamira Williams, a mother of two whose husband Quindell is a 2008 graduate of OCC and a teacher at PSLA at Fowler High School. "It took me many years to complete this degree," said Jamira Williams. "I had to stop for health issues. I had to stop to take care of my children. I always came back. I knew what the end goal was and I never let the obstacles get in my way."

Congratulations to all of our December 2023 graduates!

Jamira Williams '23 proudly wears her Nursing pin while pictured with her husband Quindell '08, and sons Jasai (green shirt), and Qaiel (blue shirt).
Jamira Williams '23 proudly wears her Nursing pin while pictured with her husband Quindell '08, and sons Jasai (green shirt), and Qaiel (blue shirt).
Onondaga Community College