EASTERN PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – In one of the most community-oriented college graduations in the country, 11 students will receive degrees and certificates during Central Arizona College’s Aravaipa Campus commencement ceremony on Friday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. in Eastern Pinal County.
The Aravaipa Campus is located at 80440 E. Aravaipa Road, just off of Arizona State Route 77 between Winkelman and Oracle.
Ten students will receive degrees, while an 11th will receive a certificate.
Each student will be wearing specific medallions, stoles and cords signifying the programs with which they are affiliated. Students wearing gold medallions are graduates of the honors program, while those wearing gold stoles are members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.
Students wearing blue cords are graduates of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) program, while those wearing red cords belong to CAC’s TRIO student success program and students donning silver stoles are members of CAC’s Student Leadership Organization.
Graduates also will wear various tassels depending on the degrees that they are receiving. Those with white tassels are receiving associate of arts degrees, while those wearing gold tassels are earning an associate of science degree. Associate of business degree recipients will sport drab tassels, associate of applied science will wear green, associate of general studies will wear gray, and those earning certificates will don blue tassels.
Serving as the commencement speaker for the ceremony is Joe Pyritz, a 1983 graduate of CAC and a native of San Manuel, Ariz. Pyritz is the communications and community relations administrator for Pinal County, a post he has held since 1999.
Prior to taking on his current role with the county, Pyritz could be seen on televisions across Tucson as a reporter and fill-in anchor for the city’s ABC affiliate KGUN-TV
During his tenure as part of KGUN’s news team, Pyritz earned an award from the Associated Press, an accolade he is quick to recognize as a team award. He also was a bit of a trailblazer, becoming Tucson’s first multimedia journalist. This meant that he had to shoot, edit and report his own stories, which is not uncommon in today’s newsrooms but was a novelty in his era.
Upon leaving KGUN, Pyritz moved into his current role with the county. As Pinal’s communications and community relations administrator, he oversees the county’s government television station, Channel Pinal, and organizes special events throughout the county, among his many other duties.
In 2012, Pyritz was inducted onto the CAC Wall of Success.
Born and raised in San Manuel, Pyritz attended the University of Arizona after completing his associate degree at CAC. At Arizona, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.