In recognition of the ongoing need for social distancing as a result of COVID-19, Washington County Community College (WCCC) is holding its first-ever virtual commencement ceremony on May 15th. In accordance with the college’s tradition, the ceremony will honor all certificate and degree recipients – albeit in a completely new way.
The need to recognize students was seen as particularly important in light of the ongoing pandemic. With the health of students, families, and the community in mind, an alternative was required. “It was important that we honor our graduates and the exemplary work they have accomplished under some of the most unprecedented circumstances. Even though we are unable to safely hold an in-person commencement, we felt it critical to celebrate our students, their families, our faculty and staff, and others who rallied to support one another throughout this challenging year,” President Susan Mingo said.
Commencement is the highlight of the year for students, faculty, and staff as it gives the opportunity to recognize each component of the student’s personal journey in higher education. WCCC’s ceremony always incorporates the heritage of the area, including performances by Passamaquoddy drumming groups and a bagpipe player who accompanies the procession of graduates.
WCCC’s commencements have been clearly fine-tuned over the past half century. As the college approaches its 50th graduating class, this year’s ceremony is exemplifying a core value the College often impresses upon its students: never stop adapting, when faced with challenging circumstances being resilient allows for growth and the opportunity to become stronger for having overcome an obstacle.
The online commencement will begin at 11:00 am through WCCC’s website or on WCCC’s Facebook page (discoverwccc). This year’s commencement speaker is famed NASCAR driver and ESPN and FOX analyst Ricky Craven. Craven, a Maine native, was champion of the 1991 NASCAR Xfinity Series, and he has won several races in NASCAR’s three divisions. “I’m excited to have him join us in our virtual graduation ceremony,” President Mingo shared, “I felt it fitting that as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary this academic year, we have a guest speaker at commencement who embodies our institutional heritage. One of our founding programs was Automotive Technology which is still thriving today. Ricky Craven has reached the pinnacle of success within this industry on a national level. We are honored to have him participate and look forward to his words of wisdom for our graduates.”
Engine Specialist instructor Bion Holbrook was named Distinguished Faculty Speaker. Holbrook is a veteran of the Coast Guard and of Operation Desert Storm. After retiring from the service, he began his second career as the Facility and Transportation Director for RSU 24 and taught prior to coming to WCCC at Sumner High School within their Industrial Arts Program.
Engine Specialist student Clinton E. Dakin was named as Student of the Year and will be delivering the student address during the event.
The commencement proceedings will be recorded and will remain viewable on the website after the event is completed. A physical digital copy of the commencement proceedings will be sent to the home address of each graduate.
WCCC invites students, families, friends, and the community to participate and celebrate the Class of 2020. “Commencement is the culmination of our students’ achievements and a time where we honor their hard work,” Dean Melvin Adams said. “Our students worked hard during the last year and they are deserving of this event,” said Adams, WCCC’s Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Services.
The website link for the virtual commencement is wccc.me.edu/student-life/commencement while the Facebook link is www.facebook.com/discoverwccc. With any questions about commencement, call (207) 454-1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.