President Carlos O. Turner Cortez’s Commencement Address

Good afternoon.

Welcome to San Diego Continuing Education’s 2016 Commencement Ceremony coordinated with San Diego Unified School District’s Adult Education Program.

We are here to celebrate student academic success.

This year, we awarded a record-breaking 5,038 certificates to San Diego Continuing Education students. This number reflects a 16% increase in the number of certificates awarded in 2015. We think that’s something to celebrate!  

At San Diego Continuing Education, student lives are transformed because of the passion and commitment from a very large team of dedicated faculty and staff, who are supported by leadership and administrators.Tireless efforts from these people do not go unnoticed by the 45,000 students we serve every year. Students know how much we want them to succeed, and they know we are deeply committed to their achievement.

And speaking of achievement, let’s turn our focus to our guests of honor. Let’s hear it for the graduating class of 2016!

For many, if not most, your journey to complete this educational milestone did not come easily. But out of your struggle comes tremendous joy and pride.

In my personal development, I have come to appreciate how eastern philosophy authentically characterizes the human condition and the idea that out of struggle comes joy.

According to the philosophical teachings of Buddha, there are four certainties in life, described as The Four Noble Truths.Today, in my brief remarks, I want to focus on the first of these Noble Truths, which is known as dukkha

Dukkha, is found in ancient Indian literature. In English, the concept loosely translates as “Life is suffering”.

The word dukkha itself does not refer exclusively to life as suffering. Instead, it refers to anything that is temporary or conditional. In other words, dukkha refers to real time, and as time is actually happening or passing. So, just as any hardship or suffering is temporary, something that is precious and enjoyable is also dukkha.

Most of you here with us today understand that life is suffering. Before enrolling in your classes, you may have experienced obstacles and challenges that made it difficult for you to pursue the traditional route to a high school diploma or a post-secondary certificate. However, today, we all know that life can also be joyous.

The educational accomplishments we celebrate today make this moment in your life a very special moment for you, and for your family and friends who have supported your goals.

The First Noble Truth encourages us to learn from our mistakes and to turn failures into opportunities. Each of you here today has faced some sort of adversity in your own way, but you chose to chart your own destiny and improve your own life by making a change to the outcome, which in itself is a meaningful achievement.

I hope today will be a first step in your educational and career advancement. I encourage you to explore the more than 40 free job training certificates offered at San Diego Continuing Education. I also encourage you to consider an educational pathway at City, Mesa or Miramar College, where you will be supported as you continue to achieve.

Regardless of your immediate next step, know that today; you have re-charted your destiny.

2016 commencement graduate

Never doubt your capacity. Today marks the first day in the rest of your lives.

With your diploma or certificate in hand, hundreds of doors have opened for you.

If you have a dream, make it come true. If you don’t have a dream, develop a ten year plan for your life and focus on the prize.

From the entire San Diego Continuing Education family, please accept our very heartfelt congratulations!

Event photos

News release


Mission: San Diego College of Continuing Education commits to student success and community enrichment by providing accessible, equitable, and innovative quality education and support services to diverse adult learners in pursuit of lifelong learning, training, career advancement, and pathways to college. read more »