Valencia’s Graduation Set For May 8; Teen Mom is Distinguished Grad

Orlando, FL – On Sunday, May 8, more than 1,600 Valencia College students will receive their associate degrees when Valencia College holds its 47th spring commencement ceremonies at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena.

Because so many students are graduating, Valencia College will hold two ceremonies on May 8. The first will begin at 10 a.m., with the processional beginning at 9:40 a.m. The afternoon ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.; the processional will begin at 1:40 p.m.

This is the first time in more than a decade that the college has held two separate commencement ceremonies.

This year’s commencement address will be given by 37-year-old Emmy Torres, who was named the Mary Smedley Collier Distinguished Graduate by the Valencia Alumni Association.

Torres, who dropped out of high school at age 16 after she got married and pregnant, is a student leader at Valencia’s Osceola Campus, where she serves as the vice president of the Osceola Student Government Association, and as a staff assistant in the college’s Internship and Workforce Services office.

While at Valencia, Torres was also instrumental in organizing the first Osceola Hispanic Heritage Festival on campus and for raising more than $6,000 for student scholarships to benefit undocumented students, most of whom are not eligible for financial aid.

“I love that the commencement ceremony will be on Mother’s Day,” said Torres, who has four children. “I don’t think I’ve had a Mother’s Day present like this – ever.”

Although about 1,600 students are participating in commencement ceremonies, approximately 7,600 students were awarded degrees within the past year. Since Valencia opened in 1967, the college has awarded more than 135,770 degrees.

In addition to associate degrees, 68 students have earned their bachelor’s degrees from Valencia College in the past year; bachelor’s degree recipients will participate in the afternoon ceremony. Valencia College began offering bachelor’s degrees in 2011 and currently offers bachelor’s degrees in three programs: electrical and computer engineering technology; radiologic and imaging sciences; and cardiopulmonary sciences.

Parking will be available for graduates and guests in UCF parking garages D and H.

The ceremony will be streamed live on the internet and can be viewed on the Valencia College graduation website (  A recorded version will also be available online a week after the ceremony.