HFC Celebrates Successful Commencement!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The HFC 2014 Commencement Ceremony took place under perfect, sunny conditions as the institution celebrated the commitment and accomplishments of its graduating students May 10 at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. This year, more than 382 students participated in commencement exercises.

HFC held two ceremonies for this auspicious occasion on May 10. Thousands of family members and friends joined their loved ones during the ceremonies. During the 2013-14 academic year, more than 1,800 students graduated from HFC’s degree and certificate programs.

During Commencement 2014, the College honored Debbie Dingell with its 2014 Distinguished Service Award and William Liebold with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dingell, of Dearborn, is the founder/president of D2 Strategies, the chair of the Manufacturing Initiative of the American Automotive Policy Council, and the chair of the Wayne State Board of Governors. She is an active civic and community leader in Michigan and Washington, D.C., as well as a recognized national advocate for women and children. She worked for General Motors (GM) for more than 30 years, where she headed the GM Foundation and Public Affairs. She earned her undergraduate degree in Foreign Service and her graduate degree in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

A national Democratic strategist and member of the Democratic National Committee, Dingell has chaired numerous political campaigns. A known “bridge-builder,” she continues to promote and lead efforts toward greater understanding among the Detroit area’s Middle Eastern community. As a respected bipartisan voice, she is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and WDIV’s “Flashpoint.” She’s included in Crain’s Detroit Business’ 100 most influential women in Michigan.

She is married to Congressman John Dingell, the longest-serving member of the United States House of Representative who recently announced his retirement after more than 58 years of service. Dingell plans to run for her husband's congressional seat. If she wins, it will mark the first time in history that someone has directly succeeded a living spouse in either legislative chamber. Her campaign raised more than $500,000 in just one month with 93 percent of the contributions coming from individuals.

Liebold, of Farmington Hills, began his career in public service in 1968 and is the founder/president of The Liebold Group LLC. From 1991-2008, he served as president of the Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF) and led the organization in its most successful period in its 65-year history. Under his leadership, the MCF raised more than $32 million, doubled its endowments, and established renowned scholarship programs with many of Michigan’s leading corporations and foundations. In recognition of his outstanding service, the MCF Board of Trustees named Liebold president emeritus and established an endowed scholarship in his name.

From 1983-91, he was a special assistant and cabinet secretary to Gov. Jim Blanchard, where he raised a record-setting $1.7 million for charitable and community service agencies as chair of the first-ever Michigan State Employees Combined Campaign.

Liebold was instrumental in launching the Detroit Bridge Program (DBP), an innovative pre-college initiative to boost urban high school graduation rates. From 2004-07, he served as vice chair and presiding officer of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education (FIHE). Currently, he is an adjunct professor of political science at Oakland Community College.

A native of Dearborn, Liebold graduated from Dearborn High School (DHS) in 1966. He attended HFCC from 1967-68 before leaving to teach English to prepare students for the GED exam with Vista, the domestic peace corps, for two years. He returned to HFCC in 1970 before transferring to Eastern Michigan University (EMU), which he attended for one year.

In 1973, Liebold earned his undergraduate degree with distinction in General Studies with a concentration in Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn (U of M-Dearborn). In 1982, he earned his MPA from the University of Southern California (USC) Washington, D.C. Public Affairs Center. Additionally, Liebold graduated from the Leadership Detroit and Leadership Michigan programs. In 2001, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the U of M-Dearborn. In 2005, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Adrian College. In 2012, he received the David A. Skiven Leadership Award from the Engineering Society of Detroit.

“The 1960s was a difficult time for our nation and many of us individually. The Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy and the emergence of the counterculture caused many of us graduating from high school to make difficult personal decisions. Fortunately, HFCC was there to provide stability and a chance to build the foundation for successful lives and careers,” said Liebold.

HFC President Dr. Stanley Jensen “takes great pride in the annual commencement ceremony, which marks an important point in the academic careers and lives of all students. Many students must juggle responsibilities as students, parents and employees while working toward a better tomorrow through higher education. We’re very happy to celebrate their success and look forward to hearing of their contributions in the years ahead,” he said.

HFC continues to represent an exceptional gateway to higher education for thousands of students each year. With more than 100 focused programs, support programs, dedicated faculty and staff, and exceptional resources such as a state-of-the-art Science Center and Welcome Center, many HFC graduates transition into high-paying careers or move on to four-year institutions where they complete their undergraduate degrees.

To learn more about HFC, please visit www.hfcc.edu