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 • General Information


    • Report to the Sheffer Music Hall on Commencement day, May 5, 2018, for rehearsal at 12:30 p.m. Sheffer Music Hall is located in the Potter Center on the second floor.
    • Appropriate attire
      • Women: dress, suit, or slacks/skirt with blouse.
      • Men: suit or slacks with a shirt and tie.
    • You will receive information regarding your honor cord eligibility at rehearsal.
    • After rehearsal graduates will meet in the Robert Snyder Commons to don their caps and gowns. You may want to consider bringing hair pins to secure your cap. The Snyder Dining Commons is located on the first floor of the Potter Center. Please note that this location is not secure, and Jackson College will not be held responsible for any items left unattended.
    • Your photograph will be taken by a professional photographer as you receive your diploma and again as you exit the stage.
    • Graduates will line up in the corridor near the President’s Office – don’t worry we’ll show you where during rehearsal. Please do not have your guests meet you in the hallways.
    • No flowers, corsages, pins, medallions or jewelry, unless issued by Jackson College, are to be worn during the Commencement ceremony. PTK stoles are permitted.

    National Anthem

    • During the National Anthem, we ask that all graduates stand and place their hand over their heart; gentlemen, please remember to remove your caps.

    Receipt of Degree and Certificates

    • Graduates in the first row will walk directly across the front of the theatre to the side of the stage. Graduates will be directed to the correct place on the stage. We will rehearse this.
    • Graduates seated in the second row, and all rows afterward will go to the back of the Music Hall and begin to line the stage. JC staff will be there to assist throughout the ceremony.
    • Each graduate will be issued a blue commencement card with their name and degree listed on it, you will hand this card to the dean before crossing the stage.
    • Each graduate will also be issued a yellow card, you will hand your yellow card to the photographers assistant before crossing the stage.
    • As your name is called, proceed to President Phelan; receive the paper scroll in your left hand and shake the President’s hand with your right After receiving your scroll, proceed to the waiting member of the Board of Trustees for an additional congratulatory handshake. Again, this will be rehearsed.
    • Finally, the graduate will move to the photo area in front of the flag (remember, the photographer is looking, smile!)
    • After the photograph is taken, the graduate will return to sit in their original seat.


    • A reception for graduates, family and friends will be held in the Robert Snyder Dining Commons immediately after the Commencement ceremony.

    Diploma Processing

    • Grades are recorded for the semester.
    • Participation in the ceremony does not guarantee that the degree/certificate requirements have been completed in full.
    • Final graduation audits will be completed for all students.
    • Verification will be conducted to ensure that the student does not have any financial obligations with Jackson College. Diplomas and transcripts cannot be mailed to students with financial obligations to the College.
    • Diplomas will be mailed eight to twelve weeks after the conclusion of the semester.


    • APM Photo will take your graduation photograph as you receive your scroll and as you exit the stage. Within a week of the ceremony, you will receive a free color proof via mail or e-mail.  There is no obligation to purchase additional prints.  For further information, please contact APM Photo directly at 800.482.0321.

    Should you have any questions, you may contact Student Services at 517.796.8425.

  • 2018 Commencement • Important Information & Pick Up Times

    Cap & Gown

    Your cap and gown are available April 2 through May 5, 2018, for purchase from the bookstore on Central Campus, along with special times and availability at JC @ LISD TECH. Please contact the bookstore for current hours and availability for any of the locations at 517.796.8440. The cost is $35 plus tax.  Cap and gown are required to participate in the Commencement ceremony. To best serve our students, the JC bookstore will remain open on May 5th until the ceremony begins for cap and gown pick-up.

    Honor Cords

    Students who have earned honors will be given complimentary honor cords at the Commencement ceremony at check-in. If you are unable to participate in the ceremony but have earned the GPA represented by an honor cord, you may purchase the cord for $10 by contacting Student Services at 517.796.8425.

    The eligibility and honor status for the Commencement ceremony will be based on your cumulative GPA as of the Fall 2017 semester:

    Cumulative GPA Honor Cord
    3.0 to 3.49 = Recognition White Honor Cord
    3.5 to 3.79 = Honors Silver Honor Cord
    3.8 to 4.0 = High Honors Gold Honor Cord

    The final audit GPA for the Winter and Spring candidates, following the posting of grades and completion of degree requirements, will be reflected on your transcript and diploma. All credits earned are used to calculate cumulative GPAs, not just credits that are used toward degree completion.

    Phi Theta Kappa Members

    If you are a member of Phi Theta Kappa and did not receive your graduation stole to wear over your regalia, contact PTK faculty advisor Martha Petry at least one week prior to graduation at or 517.796.8530. PTK Graduation stoles will not be available on the day of the ceremony.

    Ticket Information

    Each graduate/candidate may request up to 4 tickets for guests to attend the ceremony starting on April 2, 2018.  Important Note: Tickets are not guaranteed and are available on a first come, first served basis. Due to seating capacity in the theater, there will only be 1,000 tickets printed. Tickets are available for pick up through May 4, 2018 at JC Central Campus Student Services, JC Maher Campus main office, JC @ LISD TECH main office and the Hillsdale LeTarte Center main office. These tickets are required for seating until 1:30 p.m., so that all graduates have an equal opportunity to have representation at the ceremony. Guests with tickets need to be seated by 1:30 p.m. (doors to the Music Hall will open at 12:45 p.m.).  All remaining seats will be open for additional guests at 1:30 p.m. Ticket holders that arrive after 1:30 p.m. will be given the same consideration to the remaining available seating as those without tickets. If there may be more family and friends of graduates than available seats in the Sheffer Music Hall, additional seating will be available in the Baughman Theatre, where the ceremony can be viewed on a large projection screen. Please inform your guest(s) not to sit in the reserved for graduates seating areas designated in the theatre.

    Commencement Day

    Bring your cap and gown and report to Sheffer Music Hall (Potter Center, second floor) at 12:30 p.m. on Commencement day for rehearsal. Doors open for guests with Commencement tickets at 12:45 p.m. and open seating begins at 1:30 p.m.

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.