CommencementCommencement Ceremony • May 5, 2018

The Commencement at Jackson College ceremony is an opportunity to pay special tribute to its graduates for the outstanding efforts they have shown in earning their degree or certificate. Our Commencement ceremony is held once a year in the Harold Sheffer theater at the end of the winter semester in May. To take part in the Commencement Ceremony students must apply for graduation.


2018 Commencement

group of students in caps and gowns group of students in caps and gowns
students smiling on graduation day students smiling on graduation day
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students at commencement in gowns outside students at commencement in gowns outside
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Three male students at commencement Three male students at commencement
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Sheffer theater audience during commencement Sheffer theater audience during commencement
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Dan Phelan giving speech Dan Phelan giving speech

2018 Commencement Program

Explanation of Degrees

  • The Bachelor of Applied Science is an undergraduate degree in a discipline that applies knowledge to more specific, practical applications. It is found in majors such as engineering or culinary arts, and is designed to lead to immediate work in the field.
  • The Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree is focused on a particular subject matter, with fewer liberal arts courses. Students concentrate on their academic subject to master technical and practical facets of their field. It is usually offered in technical and scientific areas like computer science or energy systems.
  • The Associate in Arts is earned primarily by students intending to transfer to a college or university and complete a four-year degree in any one of several major areas such as business administration, education or psychology.
  • The Associate in Science is earned by students intending to transfer and major in fields such as pharmacy, engineering, pre-medicine and biology.
  • The Associate in Applied Science is recommended for students who plan to enter an occupation upon graduation or who desire to transfer to specialized applied, business, or technical programs at four-year colleges.
  • The Associate in General Studies comprises a core of general education with additional coursework selected to meet the student’s needs and interests.
  • Certificates of completion are granted to students who have earned at least 30 semester hours of credit in an organized program
    of study.

Honor Cords

Graduates are recognized for achievement with honor cords worn over their graduation gown. Honor cords consist of twisted cords with tassels on either end.

  • Gold cords represent high academic honors, for students whose overall GPA is 3.80 to 4.0.
  • Silver cords represent academic honors, for students whose overall GPA is 3.50 to 3.79.
  • White cords represent academic honors, for students whose overall GPA is 3.00 to 3.49.
  • Red, white and blue cords recognize veteran students.

Minh Nguyen, 2018 graduate and student commencement speaker

Ming-NguyenWelcome, Board of Trustees, President Phelan, Administrators, faculty, staff, students, distinguished guests, family and friends here this afternoon. My name is Minh Nguyen, and it is an honor for me to standing here, representing one of many voices of this graduating Class of 2018.

In the last days of being a Jackson College’s student, I want to share two of my personal lessons from JC that I may bring with me to every corner of life.

The first lesson is about kindness. I’m an international student from Vietnam. When I first got here, my English was not very good. Most of the time, I had to think in Vietnamese first and then translate into English. Therefore, it took me a long time to reply to what others said. There were a lot of times that I lost track in conversations or did not understand lectures. And it was a culture shock, life without my family around. The first semester was tough for me.

However, there are so many people here that didn’t give up on me. It is a Resident Assistant, who created conversation and events, which got me out of my room, my comfort zone to talk with others. They are my friends Gabby & Kaitlyn who would take me everywhere with them. They patiently repeat and explain what they are saying on the phone to me because half of the time I just like “Huh? What did you say” or “Huh? I don’t get what you are saying”. They are Vy & Hang who make JC home to me. It is my boss, Julia Cassell, who let me cry in her office. She listened to me, gave me tissue, letting me know that everything will be ok. There are instructors, advisors, and administrators that is Mama Kelly Crum who always ended the conversation with saying: “Minh, let me know if you need help with anything.” When you are thousands of miles away from home, this actually means a lot.

Because of those people, who are so nice to me, I wake up every day, promising myself that I have to be kind to others like that. Because of those people, I applied to be an RA, hoping to spread the kindness. It’s not enough to be kind. One should always be kinder than needed. There is a line written by R.J Palacio, an author that I really like: “If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

The second lesson is about responsibility. There is a line that I have heard repeatedly this year: “You have to do what you have to do.” Whenever I want to give up on my dream and goal, there will be always somebody there, shake their heads and say: “No. Failure is an option, but giving up is not. You are going to do what you have to do. Keep running, keep moving forward.”

I still remember last semester, besides studying for school and working, I also had to study for the TOEFL and SAT tests. It was stressful. So, there was one time my advisor took me to lunch and I told her: “Maybe I should apply to schools that do not require SAT or high GPA. I’m tired.” Immediately, she turned to me, shook her head and said: “No, no, you have to go and do what you have to do. If you want to transfer into a top school, you have to rock those tests.”

This year, we have seen thousands of youngsters standing up for their voices in the March for our Lives, that enough is enough. People, those students, us, we are always a part of something that is bigger than ourselves. Our generation is responsible for inheriting the beautiful values from last generations and shaping a better world for future generations. Each of us here carry a mission that we have to do in our lives, and our jobs are to do it.

I believe that if I hadn’t chosen to go to Jackson Community College, I would never have chances to be myself today. On behalf of Jackson College class of 2018, I want to express our gratitude to all faculty, staff, and families for being there for us, for sometimes believing in us more than we believe in ourselves. Mahatma Gandhi used to say: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” As new graduates, we have everything that one needs to change the world: passion, knowledge, kindness and craziness. If there is any time that life beats us down, think back to how we survived college with all those deadlines and exams! As we move into the future, we know we will always be Jets, will always have each other’s back wherever we go. We’re one family, always.

Thank you and congratulations, Class of 2018!