A diverse and unique graduating class will receive diplomas Saturday at Kennebec Valley Community College’s 46th commencement.

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the Augusta Civic Center, and while some 477 will receive degrees from the Fairfield college as the year ends, officials predict about half will be at the ceremony.

Saturday’s group of graduates represents a lot of firsts, including the first graduates of the culinary arts and welding programs. Of the school’s graduates, 69 percent are the first in their family to get a college diploma, according to a news release from the school. There are also nine graduates who already have a degree, including one with a law degree.

Graduates and their families and friends will hear a commencement address from Rep. Henry Beck, D-Waterville.

Beck is serving his fourth term in the House and is chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and Financial Affairs.

He has been a vocal supporter of legislation that allows more flexibility to who can administer naloxone, a drug that is used to counter the effects of opioid overdoses, commonly known as Narcan. A bill that allows pharmacists to dispense it without a prescription became law last month after the Legislature overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s veto. Beck also has voted to expand MaineCare, which would give insurance coverage to more low-income Mainers, a move that the Legislature has yet to approve and that LePage opposes.

An attorney, he’s also a former Waterville city councilor who pushed for redevelopment and revitalization in the city.

Other unique features of the KVCC class of 2016 include an average age of 31, with 60 percent are older than 25; 58 percent of the graduates are women, 65 percent are from Kennebec and Somerset counties and four are from out of state.


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