As Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker extended the state-wide stay-at-home order through the month of May and social distancing looked to become the rule rather than the exception going into Fall, officials at Danville Area Community College made the difficult decision to let go of hopes for a traditional Commencement ceremony – even delayed by several weeks – and moved forward with a plan for Virtual Commencement via YouTube on May 22 at 7pm.
“We were looking later and later in the year for an acceptable date,” stated Stacy Ehmen, Vice President of Student Affairs. “Some of our graduates will be transferring in the fall and wouldn’t be here by the time we could hold a traditional ceremony. We felt it was more important to celebrate with everyone online than to sit with a few in person. We want “everyone to experience the joy of their achievements.”
Thankfully, improvements made to the College’s video production team and department in the past year make a creative and classy virtual Commencement possible.
Laura Hensgen, Director of Video Production and Community Education, brought the idea to the Commencement committee.
The format will remain largely unchanged; there will be speakers, Summa Cum Laude graduates (4.0GPA) will be featured, and an Honorary Degree will be presented to long-time DACC supporter, Dick Cheney. Following the Honorary Degree presentation, all graduates will be announced along with their photo. Graduate names, read by the Academic Deans, will be accompanied by their certificate or degree and any honors they have earned. The ceremony is open to graduates completing their degrees in Fall 2019, or Spring or Summer 2020.
“We’re going to host a pre-recorded ceremony with most of the elements of the live ceremony,” Hensgen stated. “We’ll have short statements from Board Chair Dave Harby and President Nacco, and a charge to graduates from retiring Executive Vice President of Instruction Dave Kietzmann. We’ll premier it on YouTube on the 22nd.”
Mr. Kietzmann, who retires from a 50-year career at DACC at the end of June, first came to the College as a student in 1967. During his tenure he has served as instructor and administrator – even interim President prior to the appointment of Dr. Alice Marie Jacobs in 1999. Other than founding President Mary Miller, Mr. Kietzmann has had the single most significant influence on the success of the college and its students in DACC history.
The video will be created using graduate-submitted photos. All graduate names will be read, regardless of photo submission.
Graduates are asked to submit a quality photo using the following guidelines:
· Use a good quality phone or camera to take the picture. Use the highest quality setting on the camera;
· Dress and prepare as you normally would for graduation – without cap and gown;
· Make sure there is adequate lighting:
· Hold phone vertically;
· Photo should be a head and shoulders shot;
· Email picture to: firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday, May 7; and
· Please be sure to include full graduate name as it should appear in the program and be announced in the video. If graduate has a “typically mispronounced” name, they should contact the Records office to confirm the pronunciation.
Graduate questions should be directed to the Records office by calling (217) 443-8797 or via email to email@example.com.