St. Petersburg College will hold its 131st commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 23 at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Approximately 300 of the 1,030 summer graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony.
Sane Haidara, an international student from Timbuktu, Mali, will address fellow graduates and guests. He will earn a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Administration with a 3.3 GPA.
Haidara has overcome many hardships to study in the United States. His family was forced to flee Mali due to political unrest in the country and lost their livelihood. His family has only recently returned to Mali to try to start over. In Mali, Haidara had his own business as a tour guide and saved up enough money to begin his studies.
At St. Petersburg College, Haidara served as the vice president of SPC’s ICMA (City/County Management Association and received the 2016 Most Engaged International Student award. He participated in Phi Theta Kappa, the American and Arabic Cultural Association and served as the former president of the International Club. Haidara’s mother has traveled to St. Petersburg from their home in Mali to see her son graduate.
“At St. Petersburg College, I was able to gain leadership and community service skills, which I believe will allow me to help the people of Mali address the issues such as malnutrition, illiteracy, and instability,” Haidara said. “SPC has made me feel at home and I was welcomed as a valuable member of the college community.”
Also addressing guests will be Darcy Warms, who is graduating with her Associate in Arts degree.
With this graduating class, St. Petersburg College will have awarded 156,574 degrees since the college – Florida’s first community college – was founded in 1927. The youngest graduate is 17 years old, the oldest is 72 years old and 15 graduates are over the age of 60. Fifty-nine percent of the graduates are female.