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18 December 2018

From China and the Congo to Central Pennsylvania, HACC’s Newest Graduates Ready for their Next Step

Fall 2018 Commencement held Dec. 18 at the Giant Center

HERSHEY, Pa. – More than 375 students walked across the stage to receive their associate degrees, certificates or diplomas during Commencement for HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, on Dec. 18, 2018, at the Giant Center in Hershey. They were among the more than 900 students who completed their associate degrees, certificates or diplomas during the fall 2018 term.
Among the graduates were:

  • Cousins Joseph Bambile and Christopher Ngangura of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are international students now living in Harrisburg. Bambile graduated with an associate degree in mechanical engineering from HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. He plans to further his education starting with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. “HACC helped me to improve my English and get used to the American culture.” To hear more from Bambile, please view this video.

    Ngangura graduated with an associate degree in business administration from HACC’s Harrisburg Campus, and credits HACC for helping him develop his skills in business. He plans to continue his studies at Pennsylvania State University.
  • René Geib, a grandmother and wife who resides in Willow Street, graduated with an associate degree in nursing from HACC’s Lancaster Campus. While enrolled at HACC, she juggled studies with raising three of her grandchildren and caring for  her husband who was diagnosed with cancer.  “The support and encouragement I have received during my time at HACC is unbelievable. I know that this step into the wonderful world of nursing will help me and my family, and I am proud to be achieving this goal.” She plans to obtain a position at a hospital and continue her education. She would like get her nurse practitioner license and open a clinic. To hear more from Geib, please view this video.
  • Student speaker Alexa Groft of East Berlin, graduated with an associate degree in early childhood-elementary education from HACC’s Gettysburg Campus. As she encouraged her fellow graduates, she said, “Never underestimate your own strength. We were all born for a purpose and are blessed with the power to achieve it. Tonight we celebrate all we have accomplished. Now, let’s raise the bar higher!”

    The 2018 All-PA Academic Team member received a full scholarship to complete her bachelor’s degree. She plans to attend Millersville University and major in early childhood education. To hear more from Groft, please view this video.
  • John and Veronica Hernandez of Spring Garden, who are married, each graduated with an associate degree in criminal justice from HACC’s York Campus. Standing by each other’s side, the two have overcome obstacles including John’s brain tumor and the heroin overdose of Veronica’s mother. They credit HACC for helping them power through and not giving up.

    John plans to work in an all-boys detention center and continue his education in criminal justice with a minor in political science. He wants to become an attorney for criminal defense.

    Veronica said, “I want to provide paralegal work pro bono so that I can make a difference in society, especially those of inner urban poverty.” To hear more from the couple, please view this video.
  • HACC chef Thomas Long of New Cumberland, graduated with his associate degree in general studies from HACC’s Harrisburg Campus. Long started attending HACC in 1978 in the first chef apprenticeship program and graduated in 1981. He returned to HACC in 2015 as the director of campus dining and decided to pursue his associate degree. “HACC gave me confidence to pursue by dreams,” he said. Long plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree. To hear more from Long, please view this video.
  • Philip McCoy of Palmyra, graduated with his associate degree in general studies from HACC’s Lebanon Campus. Prior to attending HACC, he served in the military. “HACC has broadened my knowledge base of materials and forms in various arts.” He intends to pursue an arts degree.
  • Na Wu-Arnold, who came from China to the United States by herself in 2012, graduated with an associate degree in nursing from HACC’s Gettysburg Campus. Living in Hanover, she worked 70 hours every week in a Chinese restaurant for almost three years while attending HACC part time. Then, she worked part-time as a nursing assistant while taking classes full time. Wu-Arnold said, “Thanks to HACC, I already got three job offers even before graduation! I have never been this confident about my future. HACC has been making huge changes in my life!” She plans to continue her education at Millersville University or Bloomsburg University and earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. To hear more from Wu-Arnold, please view this video.

Photos of these graduates and more are available online. A full list of fall 2018 graduates is available here.
Additionally, the College received support from its Commencement sponsor, AAA Central Penn.
About HACC
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is the first and largest of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. HACC offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 19,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit Also, follow us on Twitter (@HACC_info), follow us on Instagram (@HACC_edu), like us on Facebook ( and use #HACCNews.

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