A record number of students received diplomas and certificates at College of the Mainland’s spring commencement exercises last week.

A total of 532 students were awarded degrees and certificates, making this the largest graduating class in the college’s 46-year history. In addition, 260 students received GED certificates.

The ceremony was highlighted by Texas City attorney and COM alumnus Mark Ciavaglia, who encouraged graduates to pursue excellence.

“No one can push you like yourself,” Ciavaglia said. “There’s nothing you can do in this life that’s both worthwhile and easy.” He credited his success as a lawyer to “the grace of God, a loving wife—and lots and lots of coffee.”

Ciavaglia was one of three alumni honored with the Distinguished Almuni Award, presented by Dr. Larry Durrence, interim president. Julie Masters, mayor of Dickinson, and Dr. Troy Sybert, Chief Medical Information Officer for the Wellmont Health System, also received Distinguished Alumni awards.

The awards recognized each alumni's contributions to the community and his or her example of the excellence each student graduate can achieve.