2018 Commencement Central

Cypress College 51st Commencement

Friday, May 25, 2018, 6 p.m.

Gateway Plaza

Watch the Facebook livestream here!


Take a look at commencement photos!


Graduation Bios

Abhiruchi Chaulagain, 2018 Outstanding Graduate

Abhiruchi Chaulagain’s career goals became perfectly clear on the April 2015 day that a 7.8 earthquake struck her native Nepal. Nearly 9,000 people died, roughly 22,000 were injured, and 3.5 million people were left homeless. This experience motivated Chaulagain to move to the U.S. in pursuit of a medical career focused on emergency and disaster medicine.

“Enrolling myself in Cypress College was the first thing I did after moving to this country,” said Chaulagain, an Honors Program and (STEM)2 student. “I was in desperate need of a fresh start, and when I visited the campus I knew this was the right place to start my journey. I was highly attracted by the diverse crowd, welcoming atmosphere, and tremendous student resources.”

As she prepares to attend University of California, Irvine in the fall, she does so after significant academic achievement and campus involvement during her two years at Cypress College. She has also volunteered at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach for more than 400 hours, assisting patients with eating, bathing, and walking.

“I will be forever grateful to Cypress for providing me with such wonderful opportunities, and helping me grow personally and academically” Chaulagain said. “With a content heart, I can say that I am CYProud.”

Curtis Scheetz, 2018 Outstanding Alumnus

Curtis Scheetz is the founder and owner of Total Environmental Management, Inc., a leader in the HVAC industry for over 30 years providing temporary and emergency heating and cooling throughout California and the West. After obtaining his associate degree in heating, ventilation, and cooling from Cypress College, Curtis entered his profession on the ground floor working at Barber Colman in the stockroom and later as a controls application engineer. From there, he moved on to Western Air where he honed his skills in sales and then was promoted to service manager.

He re-entered the sales force at York and later moved on to Southland Industries where his sales skills and success led him to become the sales manager of their then, new division known as Sisco. He managed a sales team of nine professionals and helped to make Sisco a well-known and respected service contractor in the Southern California marketplace.

Curt’s passion for his industry, combined with an astute ability to think outside the box, led him to found TEM in 1985 as a way to provide emergency and temporary HVAC services lacking in the industry at that time. Starting as a part-time business with just one air handler, Curt tirelessly worked around the clock and today the company has the largest inventory of any HVAC rental company on the West Coast.

Always searching for new challenges, Curt is as passionate about community service and fundraising as he is about climate. Currently he volunteers his time and efforts to help raise money for the Millers Children and Women’s Hospital, Long Beach and has also become involved in Serving People In Need, an organization that helps homeless individuals in Orange County. He is a strong advocate for Cypress College, his alma mater, where he helps with both fundraising and the promoting of the school’s stellar HVAC program. He is also a regular blood and platelet donor, and supports many other charitable organizations through TEM.

Curt has been married to his wife, Jill, an interior designer, for 42 years and is the proud father of a son, Curtis, and daughter, Natalie both of whom live with their families in the Southern California area.

Farisa Morales, 2018 Graduation Speaker

NASA’s Farisa Morales hunts planets for a living. In addition to her work as an active astrophysicist searching for unknown planets at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she is a professor at California State University, Northridge and Moorpark College.

Her journey to the cosmos, though, is one Cypress College students can identify with. With a 3-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old baby, she began her college education at L.A. Mission College, where she majored in mathematics. As she completed her community college studies and transferred to UCLA, she participated in Caltech’s SURF internship program at NASA/ JPL. While working at JPL as an academic part-timer, and raising her kids, Morales graduated with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from UCLA. She continued to earn a master’s degree in physics from CSUN. Her work on planetary debris disks at JPL with the Spitzer Space Telescope evolved into her dissertation project, resulting in attainment of her doctorate in physics from USC.

Morales currently studies stars with planetary debris disks — the dusty, ring-like structures, home to colliding asteroids and sublimating comets, that circle stars like the sun, and hint at planet formation processes, their architecture and composition. Morales also searches for the planetary companions stirring the dust around nearby stars. Her work is conducted using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Hale Telescope in Palomar.

Born in the U.S., Morales was raised in Jalisco, Mexico, where she completed her primary education. As a teenager, she and her family migrated back to the U.S., where she completed high school in the Los Angeles County public school system. Morales married at 18 and began a family.

2017-2018 Faculty Award Winners

The Cypress College Academic Senate announced the recipients of this year’s Faculty Awards. Recipients were chosen by the Senate based on nominations from their colleagues.

Outstanding Full-Time Faculty of the Year: Cindy Shrout, Mathematics

Oustanding Adjunct Faculty of the Year: Wayne Chang, Biology

Charger Award: Regina Rhymes, Sociology

Congratulations to these passionate and dedicated faculty members for their contributions to the college and commitment to student success and excellence! Buen Cypress!

Apply for Graduation

All students who plan to graduate or complete a certificate at the end of the Spring 2018 semester must apply for graduation or a certificate of achievement. The priority deadline for applications for degrees and certificates is Sunday, February 11, 2018. Students who apply on or before this date will receive priority evaluations of their degree/certificate progress.

Students who miss the priority deadline will have until Friday, February 23, 2018 to apply for graduation or a certificate of achievement. Applications for degrees and certificates submitted between February 12 and February 23 will be evaluated after those submitted on or before the priority deadline.

Applications for graduation and certificates can be found on the Admissions & Records Forms page beneath the “Records – Forms” subheading.

If you have any questions about what information to include in your application, please contact the Counseling Center at (714) 484-7015 to make an appointment. The Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the Student Center building. If you anticipate completing the requirements for a bachelor’s degree at the conclusion of the Spring 2018 semester, please contact your academic department for additional instructions.

If you attended another college or university, transcripts must be on file in Admissions and Records at the time the application is submitted. Final transcripts are transcripts that include grades for ­all courses taken. Transcripts for past terms with “In Progress” work are not final.

Commencement Ceremony

Students who apply for commencement on or before the published deadlines are eligible to participate. Academic is regalia is required and may be purchased at the Campus Bookstore beginning the first week of May. Only those students who apply for commencement within the published deadlines may purchase academic regalia.

Commencement packets will be mailed to graduation candidates in early to mid-April and include commencement information, academic regalia (cap and gown) information, and instructions for graduates to follow the day of commencement.

Schedule of Events
5:00 p.m.    Gathering in the Theater (Building 4)
6:00 p.m.    Commencement Ceremony begins; Reception immediately following

The ceremony will feature faculty, special guests, and various speakers. Please plan to attend a reception for graduates, family and friends, as well as faculty and staff, immediately after the ceremony. Refreshments will be served compliments of the Associated Students.


Your family and friends are welcome at Commencement 2017. There is no limit to the number of guests graduates may invite. Guests should park in lots 1 and 9 (easiest access to the Commencement Ceremony). The ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. It will last approximately 2 hours. Food, flowers, balloons, graduation memorabilia, etc., will be available for purchase before and after the ceremony (under the tent). Please show respect for the graduates — no bullhorns or other artificial noisemakers please.


Audience members are requested to remain seated during the ceremony.

Photographs can be taken in Gateway Plaza after the ceremony. Students will have their photos taken as they graduate by a professional photographer from Grad Images­­­. Proofs of photos will be sent to students soon after graduation.

Promotional photos taken by college staff will be posted here in Commencement Central.


Please be dressed in your cap and gown by 5:00 p.m. Do not bring a handbag or back­­pack since there is no one to watch your personal items. You can leave them with a family member. You will be given final instructions for the line-up at that time, and you will be handed a 3 x 5 card to print your name on. As you walk toward the stage, you will hand the card to the reader so your name can be announced. Once your name is announced, you’ll proceed onto the stage and be presented with your diploma cover.

There is no assigned seating for students taking part in commencement. You’ll be able to sit next to friends who are graduating with you.

For additional information about Commencement, contact the Student Activities Center at (714) 484-7198.

Degree and Certificate Evaluations

Final evaluations for degrees and certificates will begin after Spring 2018 grades have been submitted. The deadline for faculty to submit Spring 2018 grades is June 5, 2018.

Once your progress toward the completion of your degree or certificate is determined, you will be notified of the outcome via email.

Diplomas and Certificates

You will not receive your actual diploma on commencement evening. Instead, you will receive your diploma cover as you cross the stage.

Students who complete all of the requirements for their degree(s) or certificate(s) will have them awarded and posted approximately 6 to 8 weeks after the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

Degrees and certificates will be mailed to the mailing address on file with Cypress College the week of August 1, 2018.

Students who wish to order a replacement diploma, perhaps to be given to a loved one as a gift, may do so by submitting a Replacement Diploma form. Replacement diplomas cost $15 each.

Students with outstanding balances must settle their accounts before their degrees or certificates are given to them.