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Henry Ford College Celebrates the Graduation of Nearly 370 Students Over the Weekend!

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Hundreds of students wearing blue graduation gowns and caps stand in a theatre with their families near the back and on the balcony of the theatre applauding as the students move their tassels.

A total of approximately 368 students graduated from Henry Ford College (HFC) during the May 6 commencement ceremonies, which took place at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn.

To make this memorable occasion even more memorable, four of the 368 students – Beverly Etchen, Carl Matsey II, Brenda McCall, and Valencia Purry – graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts/Hotel Restaurant Management. They are the first students to ever graduate from HFC with a bachelor’s degree, which is a historic milestone in the College’s 79-year history.

“Seeing these students graduate is the best part of my job – that’s why we’re here. They should be proud of their accomplishments. As president of this College, I’m definitely pleased to be associated with them. And I am also thankful to witness our first four students graduate with a bachelor’s degree. They will be the first of many to graduate from HFC with a bachelor’s degree,” said HFC President Dr. Stan Jensen. HFC held two ceremonies for this auspicious occasion in the morning and in the afternoon. Hundreds of family members and friends joined their loved ones during the ceremonies, taking photos, sharing laughter and tears of joy. The College honored Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of the HFC’s namesake and a member of the HFC National Advisory Council (NAC), with the 2017 Distinguished Service Award. HFC also honored Mona Markabani, a firefighter/paramedic with the Ferndale Fire Dept. (FFD), with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. Before joining the family business – Ford Motor Co. – in 2006, Ford taught math and English at the high school level in Virginia, as well as overseas. When he joined Ford, he was initially in Labor Relations where he was a member of the national negotiations team that worked on the collective bargaining agreement between Ford and the UAW. He later joined Ford’s Purchasing division as an analyst on the North America Vehicle Programs (NAVP) team. Prior to returning to Michigan, he was based in Irvine, Calf. as the Lincoln Sales and Marketing Manager for the West Market Area, helping the Lincoln brand grow its presence in luxury markets. Currently, he is the Marketing Manager for Ford Performance, which is the automaker’s performance team whose mission is to fuel innovation and passion for Ford, on and off the road. In addition to serving on the HFC NAC, Ford – an alumnus of Dartmouth College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – also serves on the following boards: University Liggett School, The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, and Bridging Communities, Inc. Markabani, of Ferndale, has been working in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) profession since 2014 and has been a professional firefighter since 2015. She earned her associate degree in Applied Science/Paramedic from HFC in 2014. During her time at HFC, she was the chairwoman of the Paramedic Program’s Hospitality Committee and held the first emergency medical services (EMS) bake sale, the proceeds of which was donated to the Dearborn Fire Dept.’s (DFD) burn drive. After graduating from HFC, Markabani attended the Schoolcraft College Fire Academy in Livonia, where she was the first Arab American female and the second female guidance officer. This position entailed her taking on a leadership role for the entire class, as well as making sure all of the instructors’ tasks and orders were being followed to completion. She graduated from Schoolcraft in late 2014 with certifications of Firefighter I and II. In 2015, Markabani became the first Arab American, the second woman and the youngest person to ever join the Lincoln Park Fire Dept. (LPFD). Prior to joining the LFPD, Markabani worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic for HealthLink in Taylor.