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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named College of San Mateo as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Based on strong and improving in student outcomes—including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

The year culminated on May 25 with CSM’s 96th annual Commencement, when graduates, friends and families gathered in the gymnasium to celebrate years of hard work and academic achievement. Graduates heard from keynote speaker Boryana Straubel, a CSM grad who now heads a charitable foundation.

A year after inducting 15 members into its inaugural Hall of Fame Class, CSM announced 16 new faces whose names will be added onto the Hall of Fame monument come September 14.

The San Mateo County Community College District recently completed refinancing $113.2 million in general obligation bonds, saving local taxpayers more than $16.4 million in long term debt costs over the next 15 years.

The solar eclipse on May 20 provided some spectacular images captured by CSM Astronomy students, CSM Astronomy Professor Darryl Stanford and Ed Pieret from the San Mateo County Astronomical Society.

Don’t let Jackie Prager’s size fool you. She may be an introvert — and small — but Prager pushes herself. For instance, she has two black belts in kung fu — a fact that makes her parents feel a lot better about Prager attending college on her own.

College of San Mateo students Gabriel Denham, Niko Larot and Sterling He were each awarded prestigious scholarships of around $1000 by Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS), the academic honor society and service organization of the California Community Colleges.