HFC celebrates the graduation of nearly 400 students

HFC celebrates the graduation of nearly 400 students

Release Date: Monday, May 14, 2018
Interim President John Satkowski gives a graduate her diploma

Approximately 400 students graduated from HFC during the May 5 commencement ceremonies, which took place at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn.

HFC held a morning and an afternoon ceremony for this auspicious occasion. Hundreds of family members and friends celebrated with their loved ones on a warm, sunny Saturday.

“Participating in the commencement ceremonies for our students is truly an honor and a privilege,” said HFC Interim President John Satkowski. “Presenting them with their diplomas and shaking their hands as they walk across the stage is definitely the highlight of this job. I am truly grateful to be part of this milestone in their lives. On behalf of Henry Ford College, I wish them great success in their future endeavors, and I know they have been well-prepared by their studies here.”

Commencement Speaker: Nick Ilitch

Nick Ilitch, Vice President of Product Management at Secure-24 in Southfield, was the commencement speaker at both ceremonies. He shared motivational remarks about developing a “passion and thirst for L.I.F.E.,” and encouraged graduates in their journey in becoming lifelong learners.

"To the Henry Ford College Class of 2018: Congratulations on all of your accomplishments!" said Ilitch. "Thank you for inviting me to speak with you on such an exciting day."

2018 Distinguished Service Award: the Honorable Mariam Bazzi

The College honored Judge Mariam Bazzi of Wayne County Circuit Court with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award. The award honors individuals who have made substantial contributions toward excellence in education, outstanding civic accomplishments, and for their unwavering support of the College. This year marks the award’s 40th anniversary.

A Dearborn native, Bazzi graduated from Fordson High School. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and her juris doctor from Wayne State University Law School. She was a participant in the Harvard Young American Leadership Program in 2016.

A former member of the HFC Board of Trustees, Bazzi had the most votes among the 11 candidates in the 2014 election. In May 2017, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Bazzi to the Wayne County Circuit Court, which led to her resignation from the HFC Board.

“To say I was honored to receive this prestigious award is an understatement,” said Bazzi. “The College benefits the community in so many ways. I was very fortunate to be able to guide its future when I was a member of the Board. I look back fondly at my time on the Board.”

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award: Chef Gerald L. Ford

HFC also honored Gerald L. Ford, the executive sous chef at the renowned Everglades Club in Palm Beach, FL with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Distinguished Alumni Award. It is given to alumni who have made substantial contributions to their field.

Ford is the team captain of the American Culinary Federation Culinary Olympic Team USA 2020, which represents the United States on the global stage, showcasing American chefs and cuisine to the world. He has competed in numerous culinary competitions, including the selection for Bocuse d’Or Team USA 2017.

Ford began his culinary training in the Dearborn Culinary Arts program at Fordson and graduated from Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at HFC, where he completed more than 70 credits. He attended HFC on the Otto J. Rowen Scholarship, a vocational scholarship administered by the Dearborn Rotary Foundation.

He earned his associate degree in culinary arts and his undergraduate degree in professional studies, both from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He was also a student teacher there, and competed for the Best of San Pellegrino and Les Amis d’Escoffier Culinary Awards.

In October 2017, Ford passed the ACF’s Certified Master Chef Exam, becoming one of 68 Certified Master Chefs in the United States, according to the ACF. This exam, held every two years, spans eight days with up to 12 hours of testing that includes both classroom and practical cooking demonstrations.

“It felt so good to be welcomed back with open arms at HFC, where I was presented with this major award,” said Ford. “I am proud, I am honored, and I am humbled to be the one the College chose for this year.”

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