SOWELA Marks 85 Years of Exceptional Graduates, Surpasses Pre-COVID and Hurricane Graduation Numbers

333 Students to Receive Diplomas During June 1st Commencement Ceremony

(Lake Charles, Louisiana – May 22, 2023)

SOWELA Technical Community College marks its 85th anniversary this year, making the Thursday, June 1, Commencement its 57th ceremony. Commencement starts at 6:30 PM in the Lake Charles Civic Center Coliseum with 333 students eligible to graduate and receive degrees for Spring 2023. These students represent a 12.5% increase in graduates since 2020 when a pandemic and multiple natural disasters negatively impacted enrollment.

“Over the last 85 years, SOWELA has grown from a vocational/technical/trade school to a comprehensive community college. We pride ourselves on our ability to produce a skilled and qualified workforce for SWLA, the State of Louisiana, and the nation. We have truly become a major part of the economic engine for the SWLA region,” said SOWELA Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall. “Our great successes over the years (ranked the #1 community college in LA for 6 years and recognized as a “Great College to Work For”) have been made possible because of the dedication, support, and focus of our faculty and staff and their understanding that the students are our most important asset and the sole reason the institution exists. This 57th commencement ceremony, as with all our ceremonies, is a time to congratulate our students on their accomplishments.”

U.S. Congressman Clay Higgins will present the Commencement address. Higgins represents Louisiana’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is an Army Veteran and law enforcement officer, maintaining an active commission and Louisiana State POST certification. Higgins serves on the House Homeland Security Committee and as Chairman of the Border Security and Enforcement Subcommittee.

Graduation includes the VFW Post 7321 Color Guard conducting a Presentation of Colors and Ms. Latricia Thierry singing the National Anthem.

SOWELA’s graduation ceremony is open to the public. For information about Commencement, contact SOWELA at (337) 421-6550 or email

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 85 years.

3820 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565
(800) 256-0483

Mon-Thu: 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM
Friday: 7:45 AM to 12:00 PM
(337) 421-6550

SOWELA Technical Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person(s) have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies:

Title IX Officer

Candy Parker

(337) 421-6510 or (800) 256-0483

3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

ADA Officer

Maegan Lewis

(337) 421-6952 or (800) 256-0483

3850 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

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