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EFSC Hits Milestone with 1,000th Bachelor Degree Graduate

View additional Spring 2019 Commencement photos on Flickr

May 9, 2019 - Eastern Florida State College reached a milestone in its history Thursday when the 1,000th Bachelor Degree graduate received their diploma at Spring Commencement.

In all, 164 students celebrated earning their four-year degrees during two ceremonies at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne campus.

Derick Pierre in green robe with two men
Derick Pierre of Palm Bay, the 1000th Bachelor's Degree graduate since the programs began in 2013, is recognized on stage with EFSC Trustee Moses L. Harvin Sr., on the left, and college President Dr. Jim Richey. Pierre is looking for a job in the software development field after earning his Computer Information Systems Technology degree.

That brings the total number of Bachelor Degree graduates to 1,112 since the college began its first two baccalaureate tracks in 2013.

Today, EFSC offers 21 Bachelor specializations in Business, Health Care and Computer Technology with more in development.

The student recognized at the noon ceremony as the 1,000th graduate was Derick Pierre of Palm Bay who earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems Technology - Program/Software Development Specialization.

"I am really excited to be here. At one point I did not think I was going to graduate and to graduate with honors and be No. 1,000, I am really excited," said Pierre, who received the Harmon Strieter STEM Scholarship from the EFSC Foundation while attending EFSC.

"It means a lot to me, my parents and all the people who put the effort and work into making sure I got to this position. It is special to have something like this to honor those who have worked to get their degree."

female graduate in green cap and gown accepting diploma
Kelley Lyn Paton on stage with Dr. Linda Miedema, EFSC VP Academic/Student Affairs and Chief Learning Officer

Another member of the record-setting class is Kelley Lyn Paton, who celebrated her Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management - Human Resource Management specialization at the 3 p.m. ceremony, a degree she earned while working as the HR manager at Sun Plumbing.

"My son Tyler is dual enrolled so I went back to school with him and we are both graduating today," said Patton, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. "You have no idea what it means to me to have this degree offered. I am currently working in HR, but with this degree I am able to do my job better and also have more opportunities in the future. It just gives me so much more confidence and knowledge in my job."

The Bachelor programs have been a top priority of college President Dr. Jim Richey, who started them shortly after he became EFSC’s leader in 2012.

They are very popular, especially among working adults advancing their careers, with nearly 2,200 bachelor's students enrolled in the Spring Term that just ended.

Many bachelor-level courses and 11 Bachelor Degree tracks are available completely online.

“Today’s milestone is an incredible day for everyone at the college whose hard work has brought new opportunities to our students and community,” said Richey.

“The chance to earn a Bachelor Degree did not exist at our college before, which has made our programs a game-changer for students and local businesses that need their talent.

male and female graduates in green and blue robes“Students can tailor their classes with online or on-campus options, or a mix of both, and there are excellent job prospects for graduates. We’re thrilled how students have embraced the programs, and even more are on the way.”

More than 1,900 students were eligible to receive their diplomas Thursday at the bachelor, associate and certificate levels, joining more than 100,000 others who have graduated from the college since it opened in 1960.

Both Commencement ceremonies were televised live on WEFS-TV and streamed online. Replays can be viewed on the College’s YouTube channel at

Graduates, family and friends are encouraged to post their photos and videos from the day on social media using the hashtag #EFSCgrad.

To learn more about EFSC’s Bachelor Degree programs, visit