Opinion: Hats off to the SNC Tahoe class of 2016 | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Hats off to the SNC Tahoe class of 2016

Alan Walker
Special to the Bonanza

As Lake Tahoe rolls from winter into spring, Sierra Nevada College is experiencing its own seasonal change as we say goodbye to our senior graduates, the SNC Tahoe class of 2016.

This group of enterprising, entrepreneurial young men and women, like each graduating class since SNC Tahoe was founded in 1969, is filled with energy and cultivated wisdom, ready to draw on the blank canvas that is their future.

For me, as college president, this is the highlight of the academic year.

Commencement is a monumental pivot-point for our graduates, when they reap the fruit of their labor and enter a world where they can put their experience to work.

It's fun to be a part of the pomp and circumstance, and a moment for those of us in the SNC college family – our outstanding faculty, staff, team coaches and the larger Incline Village community – to take a deep breath, step back for a moment and enjoy the positive impact of the time we've enjoyed together.

As we switch off the classroom lights for summer, it is also worth reflecting on the many successes of our students this year.

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We've seen our high-performing business students bring home top spots at the D.W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Business Plan Competition; our ski and snowboard teams dominated at the USCSA National Championships (a regular occurrence for our program); and for the second time, our relatively new men's lacrosse team won their conference championship and represented SNC Tahoe at nationals.

For our graduate programs, SNC's MFA in creative writing continues to evolve into one of the leading programs of its type in the country, while dozens of graduates from our teaching programs at satellite centers in Reno and Las Vegas are helping build the classrooms of tomorrow while relieving Nevada's critical teacher shortage.

This week also marks the end of my first academic year at SNC. The local community, our students and staff provided a warm reception for me and my family when I started in the fall, and we immediately got to work on some big projects that will help the college evolve and adapt to changes in higher education, while solidifying our presence as a community asset in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

We've made progress fortifying the financial health of the college, and thinking ahead to needs of tomorrow's students. To that end, some exciting partnerships, programs and other positive changes are on the horizon, so stay tuned.

From the students, faculty and staff of SNC, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the North Lake Tahoe community for your support of the college. And to the 267 graduates who on Saturday will have a piece of paper to prove it, hats off to your accomplishments. Go Eagles!

Dr. Alan G. Walker is president of Sierra Nevada College. Email him at awalker@sierranevada.edu.