College plans social media blitz and summer social distance graduation to honor graduates
Because of social distance recommendations issued by the State of Ohio and the Lake County General Health District, administrators at Lakeland Community College have had to reimagine how to celebrate an important rite of passage for many of their students this spring.
To recognize its class of 2020, Lakeland is planning its first-ever, social distance graduation this summer. Graduates will be invited to drive along a route that winds through a part of campus as members of the college's board of trustees, administration and faculty, wear full academic regalia and line up along Clocktower Drive (with appropriate social distancing) to offer their congratulations and well wishes.
"Although Lakeland will not be holding an in-person commencement ceremony this year due to the pandemic, we are pleased to announce these other exciting opportunities to celebrate," said Richard Novotny, associate vice president of student development and dean of students for Lakeland. "We encourage them to have fun and decorate cars with signs that have their names and degrees, and wear their cap and gown."
Family and friends of graduates may participate by riding in vehicles only.
The procession will be videotaped, and each vehicle photographed as it approaches Lakeland's president, Dr. Morris Beverage Jr., who will acknowledge each one. The video will be made available on the college's commencement webpage on a date soon thereafter.
The original date for commencement was slated for Saturday, May 9, but instead, the college will launch a social media blitz that day in celebration of their academic accomplishment. Graduating students are encouraged to submit selfies, photos, short videos and/or messages to be posted on Lakeland's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles. The full list of graduating students will be posted online to encourage social media sharing with family and friends.
Graduates will receive their official degree (s) and a copy of the commemorative program, which is usually provided at each year's festivities, in the mail. A link to a PDF version of the program will also be available on the college's commencement webpage.
All 2020 graduates will be invited back to participate in the May 2021 traditional commencement ceremony to be held on campus Saturday, May 8.
"All of us at Lakeland know just how important commencement is to our students and their loved ones," Novotny added. "We hope these opportunities to connect, engage and celebrate will allow each of our grads to experience the excitement and emotion of commencement."
Lakeland's 2020 commencement highlights include:
• A total of 765 students will receive degrees.
• An Associate of Applied Business degree in entrepreneurship will be awarded posthumously to Willowick resident James Comer Jr. (61), who died from COVID-19. He retired from the Regional Transit Authority.
• The oldest graduate was 62; the youngest was 16.
• 6 graduates were 55+ years of age.
• There were 2 international graduates.
• 75 College Credit Plus students (74 seniors, 1 junior) representing 21 high schools graduated.
• 46 graduates began in the Tech Prep program.
• Holden University Center graduates from partner institutions numbered 89 undergraduate and 62 graduate students; graduates have now surpassed 1,100 since 2013.