Lakeland Community College held its 55th annual commencement Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. under a covered, outdoor pavilion on Lakeland’s campus in Kirtland. This marked the college’s first in-person commencement ceremony since May 2019, due to the pandemic. In addition to 2022 graduates, the class of 2020 and 2021 were also invited to participate.
“Welcome to this very special day as we celebrate the 55th commencement ceremony at Lakeland Community College. And what a day it is – to celebrate together, in person after two years, the energy and excitement is contagious!” reveled, Lakeland President Morris W. Beverage Jr.
Dr. Beverage shared that this year’s graduates joined more than 36,000 students who have graduated from Lakeland over the years, “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what community colleges are all about – giving everyone an opportunity,” he added.
K. Michael Benz, executive adviser at Ciuni & Panichi, Inc., former president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Cleveland, former director of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and executive-in-residence for Lakeland Community College, served as the keynote speaker.
Inspiring with a message of persistence, Benz reminisced on his experience in bringing the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland, stating it took “10 years from the moment we started to the day we opened up – and so you need persistence.”
Benz shared that he is often asked about his favorite song, “Every time the induction ceremony comes up, I get that media call as the first director and initial founder…it’s ‘A Little Help From my Friends’ by The Beatles. That’s how we do things in Cleveland. That’s how we do things in Lake County… at the end of the day, we work together and we get it done.”
Benz encouraged graduates to make a difference and never give up, “If you dream it and you believe it, you can achieve it,” he said, letting them in on a “secret,” adding “‘No’ is a temporary condition.”
2022 commencement highlights include: