Commencement Speaker: Benjamin Busch
Benjamin Busch is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He served 16 years as an infantry infantry and reconnaissance officer in the Marines, deploying twice to Iraq. He is writer/director of the award winning films Sympathetic Details and BRIGHT, was an actor and military consultant on the HBO mini-series, Generation Kill, and portrayed Officer Colicchio for three seasons in the HBO series The Wire.
He is the author of the memoir Dust to Dust (Ecco). His essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, The Daily Beast and NPR. His work has been awarded the James Dickey Prize for poetry and his poems have appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Five Points, Epiphany, Oberon, and Michigan Quarterly Review among others. He teaches nonfiction in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, and lives on a farm in Michigan where he shovels by day and is an illustrator at night.
Valedictorian: Francesca Curtolo
Francesca came to SNC as a sophomore from Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice. Having come from the traditional knowledge-based Italian educational system, Francesca found a new perspective in SNC’s interactive approach to learning. Her faculty mentors, particularly Professor Stacy Taylor in Business and Instructor Tanya Canino in Journalism, encouraged her to explore across disciplines and make connections between academic knowledge and practical applications. Her work on the Eagle’s Eye, writing in her third language, earned her the Journalism program’s 2016 Golden Quill Award.
She skied for the winning SNC Eagles USCSA Alpine Ski Team for two years before being sidelined by an injury, winning the 2016 Women’s Individual National Championship in Slalom. In the off season, she competed with the Water Ski club and kept score for the Soccer teams home games. She has been part of the Honor Student program, an active member of the SNC Young Professionals, tutored students in Math and Economics, and served as a peer advisor for Business majors.
Sierra Angels Entrepreneur of the Year – Kelly Benson ’15
Recognizes outstanding entrepreneurial thinking and achievement by an SNC Tahoe alumnus.
Nazir and Mary Ansari Excellence in Teaching Gold Medal Award — Donna Axton
Recognizes excellent and innovative teaching using Sierra Nevada College’s student-centric teaching model based on active learning.
Perspectives on Design (P.O.D.) Award – Collyn Ahrens Aubrey
Recognizes an extraordinary graduating artist with incentives to continue their art-making after graduation.
Commencement Week Events
SNC Choir Annual Broadway Concert
Open to All. TICKETS: $10 Adults | $5 Children | FREE to SNC Students and their families
Faculty and staff present Student Departmental Awards for outstanding performance. Students announce outstanding faculty and staff.
Graduates may invite guests.
MANDATORY for undergrads; optional for graduate students.
This rehearsal will help ensure the big day is a success!
Annual Graduation Picnic
Open to graduating students, family members, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Come to the beach for a fun afternoon following Commencement Rehearsal for food, friends, and volleyball.
NOTE: Graduates report to TCES @ 9am. Please attend this important milestone event early to prepare for your final goodbye!
Our Graduates Speak
Thank you for all the support over the years. Ian can’t wait for the rendezvous at NCECA. The SNC alumni hold it down at the shows!
Sheri has creative freedom with this area. Chris has plans to travel after graduation – for a year at least.
Josh will try to help people through art, in whatever forms it may take.
Shafer didn’t think he would find such an awesome environment where he could study and get his degree, but is glad he did. Take it easy!
Julie Ann Contos
Julie is very grateful she had the opportunity to finish something she started over 20 years ago.
Kalen completed her degree in three years, with hopes of becoming an educator. She is also walking with her middle school sweetheart!
During his time here, Ryan served as a mentor, an invaluable member of the men’s golf program, and student government. He will be off to law school this year.
Danielle would like to thank her father, Dan, for all his help and support. “I owe all of my success to you, dad!”
Monet loved her experience at SNC. She finally found a place that provided for her needs and made her successful.
Kaitlyn blossomed here at SNC, and finally found her voice as a writer. She looks forward to what awaits her in the future.
It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, what matters is how many times you get up and keep moving forward. Thanks to my family. I love you all!
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.
Thank you to my family that always pushed me to keep going and believed in me.
Claire would like to recognize Christina Frederick, Donna Axton, and Katie Zanto for being incredible teachers during her time at SNC. She is looking forward to making a difference in children’s lives in her near future. Claire is currently in the grad program at SNC getting her Master’s in Special Education.
Arno is going to see where life takes him. He would like to thank his mom and dad for their support, and Christina Frederick for all her help over the last year.
Juan devoted a lot of time into his studies and plan on pursuing higher degrees in Psychology.
Tufon has found passion, surety of self, and force of will through poetry. This is a journey 10 years in the making, and it only gets better from here!
Helen is one of the first in her family to graduate college, and plans to be a published author.
SNC was the best college to help Cody transition from the Marine Corp to college. Cody is excited to continue furthering his knowledge and skills that he learned at SNC.
Justine is extremely grateful for her family, friends, professors, and mentors, who helped guide her through her journey at SNC, and is excited to take the next step in her life.
Stephanie thanks her family and friends for their unconditional support throughout her college journey. She can’t wait to see where life takes her next.
Forest spent his time at SNC creating, immersing and engaging digital experiences. Forest will continue engaging his experiences by taking his productions on tour – locally and nationally as a performance, musical act, and mobile digital media company – Peace3 Productions.
After graduation, Alyx wants to pursue her passion for traveling and rock climbing. She also plans on becoming an outdoor science educator and getting a Masters in forest ecology.
Loved my time at SNC! Looking forward to future endeavors in Digital Arts and Technology.
She came, she saw, she conquered!
Thanks mom and dad – couldn’t have done this without you!
Thank you to Nancy Binz for the personal scholarship. Thank you to mom and dad for all your love and support. And, thank you to Andy, Suzanne, Chuck, and Steve for their support.
Thank you, Ted and Mary for your big support, love, and encouragement. I couldn’t have accomplished this without your support.
Thank you, especially to Chuck, Steve and Andy, for helping guide me to this point. Thank you is beyond words to my parents for being my constant support. On to the next adventure – Cheers!
Hugo wants to thank everyone who supported him and helped him through this journey. Thank you! TTYN!
Jordyn would like to dedicate all of her achievements and future accomplishments to her best friend, Marilyn Hanbury.
Austin would like to thank his mom, dad, brothers, and Lexi for helping him get through everything. Austin will be continuing his education in the health sciences.
Thomas plans to get a job in the Incline Village area after graduation. After a year or so, he plans to get a Master’s degree in Marketing.
After graduation, Ashley plans on exploring opportunities in the financial work force, as well as spend time with his children, Cash and Charleigh, and wife Lindsay.
Joie is planning on continuing on with her education to get her Master’s.
Kristy will continue working full-time. Hopefully, she will enter into a graduate program where she can eventually earn her Juris Doctorate.
I want to thank Branko Zagar for giving me the opportunity to come to SNC to obtain my Bachelor’s degree. Andri is planning t move back to Sweden and work in the banking sector.
Lukas would like to thank his parents, professor’s and peers for being a part of his journey at SNC. Lukas plans to be a full-time trader, while also investing in real estate.
Juan is a determined individual, who showed his work ethic in the classroom and on the soccer field. He will continue his career with the same character and pronounced ambition into the future.
Thank you to my friends, family, and to all of the faculty who supported me over the last four years.
Henriette is grateful for the four incredible years at Sierra Nevada College. She is now excited to start her Master’s degree in Marketing at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. Thank you, Branko, for making this possible.
Sergio thanks his family and friends for their love and support through his time at SNC.
John Aidan Lee
Aidan would like to thank Jon Cherry, Stacy Taylor, and his family for helping him attend and graduate from SNC.
Since discovering SNC when Andrew was in the 6th grade, he has been looking forward to graduating. His time here was nothing less than what he was expecting.
Finlay would like to thank his family, Branko, and the ski team for making the opportunity to attend SNC possible and memorable. He plans to spend the next few years avoiding Trump’s immigration scheme and stay in the United States of America.
Sergio would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support throughout his time at SNC.
Ivo would like to thank Branko Zagar for everything he did for him. Ivo will go home to France to work and save money for a couple of years in order to travel the world for a while.
Estefania Rivera Gonzalez
Estefania will be moving to Guanajuato, Mexico, after graduation to attend graduate school at the Universidad Iberoamericana of Leon.
Patrick would like to thank Ted Morse and Mary Lewellen for being mentors. Also, thank you, SNC, for helping me achieve my goals.
Nick would like to dedicate this to his dad, and thank his family, friends, and teachers for helping him achieve this.
John is the best student we’ve ever had at Sierra Nevada College!
Macy would like to thank her incredible family for supporting her unconditionally, and hopes SNC brings back women’s lacrosse.
Jai would like to give a loving “thank you” to all those who helped along this journey.
Jada is more than excited to stop stressing about school payments, and is very excited to sip cocktails on the beach in Mexico with his family.
Napier Jason Jencka
Jason thanks all those friends, acquaintances and professors that brought positive energy. He offers a special shout-out to Ted Parkhill, Steve Ellsworth, Steve Baker, Stacy Taylor, and SNC students.
Anthony will be transitioning into the Education Program and hopes to be teaching by Fall 2017. He also wishes to travel up and down the coast of California to Canada, during school breaks, in order to see where he may ultimately end up (hopefully, the Monterey area).
Ted really enjoyed his time at SNC. He is thankful for all the awesome friends he made and everything he learned.
After graduation, Bryce is pursuing a career in finance, as well as looking forward to traveling.
Kristine wants to thank Branko Zagar for making it possible for her to graduate from SNC. In a week, she will be moving back to Norway to complete a year of work before deciding on her Master’s degree.
Lindsay hopes to find a job she loves because she doesn’t know what she wants to do.
Derek would like to thank his family for always supporting him. And, a special thank you to his mom and dad for making him the person he is today. “I wouldn’t be here without you two.”
Francesca is grateful for the opportunity that ski racing gave her the past three years at SNC. A big thank you to her family, faculty, and ski team friends who supported her through this journey that rose from an uncertain start to the best experience of her life.
Brian will be attempting the CFA exam in June. Then, he will hike southbound on the Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico.
Thanks to my family for all the support, and thank you SNC for the wonderful experience.
Joshua is the first in his family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, and will pursuing a career in law enforcement. Josh is walking today with his middle school sweetheart, Kalen.
Tim excelled in his academics and played an integral part in both the newly formed SNC freeride club and disc golf club. After graduation, Tim looks forward to traveling the world and working within the ski industry. Go Eagles!
Erik is applying for business school in Europe and the U.S. Thanks to Branko and all the professors.
Cole is grateful to his parents and family for all of their support. He has chosen to pursue a career as a realtor with Re/Max North Lake specializing in residential real estate in both Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
Hunter is a bright, young man with an even brighter future. The combination of his work ethic and his constant drive for success will propel him to greatness.
Octavio will go on to start various companies, travel the world, and become the President of Chile. “You will find the key to success under the alarm clock,” said B. Franklin; if not, why say YOLO IT.
Thanks for all the fun times!
Thank you to my parents, professors, and friends. It’s been a great run!
Thank you to all my friends and family that made this journey possible. With your continued support, I am excited to see what the future holds.
Eric will be looking for new job opportunities in Northern Nevada or California.
To my mother, who taught me perseverance, and to my father, who taught me patience. Thank you for your guidance and support.
She came! She saw! She conquered!
Arthur plans to be seeking a job in the real estate field. He also plans on traveling to different countries.
First, Sergio is going to travel (South America), and then see where things go from there.
I would like to thank my family for always supporting me. I would not be where I am without our help. Thank you for always believing in me.