CommencementCommencement Ceremony

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.

2017 Commencement

2017 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.

Laurie Sexton, 2017 graduate and student commencement speaker

Welcome to all students, staff, faculty, distinguished guests, family and friends here this afternoon.  Here we are.  It’s commencement day and we are wearing caps and gowns in an auditorium filled with the people that love us most.

I am the sixth member of my family to attend Jackson College behind both my parents and my three older siblings.  So it’s safe to say that I’ve been to quite a few of these Commencements, but as I’m sure my classmates can agree, I’m glad that it’s finally my turn and I am so honored to be here.  Whether we thought this day would never come, or that it could never come, here we are.

It’s often occasions such as this that make us look to the future and wonder what it holds, but it’s also a good chance to look back and remember what it took to get here.  It took professors and tutors, advisors and department heads, librarians and technicians, board members and an army of staff working behind the scenes to keep Jackson College a safe and beautiful place to attend, as well as our own personal cheering squad of parents and friends.  It certainly takes a village and I think that village deserves a heartfelt thank you.

I would also like to make two personal thank yous.  The first being to Chrissy Hughes, the director of the Graphic Design program.  From the first time I met Chrissy, when I was just discerning pursuing a degree in Graphic design to my final semester here, it was clear that Chrissy was rooting for her students.  She wants her students to succeed, not simply to pass her courses and move on, but to see their talents flourish and develop skills that will make for a fruitful career.  She has truly been a guiding and encouraging force during my time in the program I owe much of the growth I have seen in my talent to her practical and positive instruction.  Chrissy, we’re lucky to have you, so thank you.

My second thank you goes to my mom, not only because she’s, you know, my mom, but because she was the inspiration for my speech today.  Like most moms, my mom has a few one liners, a few snippets of wisdom that she likes to share – frequently.   One such piece of advice is: “it matters what you do.”  It matters what you do.  Now my mom can’t exactly claim that she originated that concept, but if I had a dollar for every time my mom said that to me, I wouldn’t have to thank the Jackson College Foundation for blessing me with scholarships, so she gets the credit today.  Now in getting back to thinking about the future, I think this is truly sage advice.  In fact, one of the reasons I am on this stage today is because someone realized that actions can make a difference on the future.

You see, between 2008 and 2010, my family experienced three major medical crisis, including two separate air lifts to Motts Hospital for my youngest brother who was under a year old at the time and my mom’s diagnosis of cancer.  While we did get through these trials, my parents were left unable to aid in paying college tuition for my siblings and myself.  Yet here I am, on commencement day and debt free because of the scholarships that I received from the Jackson College Foundation.  This didn’t happen when I walked through the doors on my first day here.  This happened because when I was a 14 year old whose family was getting way too familiar with hospital waiting rooms and hallways, somebody I had never met decided that the impact they wanted to have on the future was a positive one and invested their time, talents, and treasure into building up the resources for Jackson College to offer its students.

When you look at it in this light, I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all, of us are here for the same reason.  Someone decided that their actions mattered.  That village that I mentioned earlier?  Every day when they showed up to work to teach and guide us, they decided that their actions mattered and could impact the future.  Fellow students, whether we realized it or not, every time we studied for a test and put the time in to learning a subject, as hard as it might have been, we were deciding that our actions matter and could impact the future.  And it did, because here we are.

So as we move forward in our different paths of life, whether we continue our education or enter the workforce right away, it is true that the world is our oyster.  But what kind of world, what kind of future do you want to have?  Whose life will you impact without even knowing it?  We might not remember everything we learned between the covers of our textbooks, but please, please let us never forget, that we got here because someone decided that actions matter and we can have the same impact.  We have made it this far and that is quite an accomplishment, but we can’t stop now.  There’s a future out there with our names on it, and it is a future that will be written by the people who will be brave enough to decide that their actions matter.

Jackson College class of 2017, we’ve got what it takes, so let’s go make the moves that matter.