GCCC to hold commencement on Friday, not Saturday





For the first time in three decades, Garden City Community College will hold its commencement ceremony on Friday instead of Saturday.

The ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in the main gymnasium of the Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex on the GCCC campus.

The last Friday commencement ceremony was in 1989.

Moving commencement up a day has many benefits for graduates and the people of the community, according to college officials.

Cathy McKinley, executive director of marketing and public relations at GCCC, said the change was made because other commencement activities for the college and the community are held throughout the weekend.

"The high school's is usually the same day (Saturday). We also have several other ceremonies, including the nurses' pinning — the John Deere Program has a special ceremony — so we kind of wanted to clear Saturday for that and not make the community members and students choose between all of these activities," she said.

McKinley said officials want to give commencement its own time slot and day.

"We also wanted to make sure commencement was the main focus," she said.

McKinley said Friday is an ideal day to hold the ceremony.

"We felt like then people could have their own celebrations on Friday night after the ceremony, then spend the rest of the weekend with their families and graduates," she said.

The ceremony will honor the accomplishments of more than 340 associate degree and certificate candidates.

The ceremony will include a keynote address by Bill Snyder, Kansas State University head football coach, and recognition of distinguished guest Dr. Nathan A. Strandmark, family physician at Plaza Medical Center and GCCC student from 1995 to 1997.

Each participating graduate will cross the stage individually, in a tradition dating back to the college's first commencement in 1920, when there was one degree recipient.

The graduates include approximately 20 men and women earning associate in arts degrees, 203 who have completed associate in science requirements, 50 receiving associate in applied science degrees and 14 who have met associate in general studies degree requirements. In addition, approximately 55 are receiving certificates in automotive technology, cosmetology, industrial maintenance or practical nursing.

The ceremony is open to the public.

In addition to prelude selections and a processional featuring Edward Elgar's traditional "Pomp and Circumstance," the program includes presentation of colors by the Buffalo Battalion Junior ROTC Color Guard of Garden City High School; a welcome, introductions and conferring of degrees by GCCC President Herbert J. Swender; and recognition of Outstanding Student Award recipients by Ryan Ruda, vice president of student services/athletic director.

The graduating class is to be recognized by Dr. Bruce Exstrom, vice president of instructional services, and Ruda. Dr. Merilyn Douglass, chair of the Board of Trustees, is planning to introduce Strandmark, and Swender will introduce Snyder.

Musical elements of the program include the GCCC Alma Mater and Ruth Elaine Schram's "By Your Side And In Your Heart," by the GCCC Concert Choir, conducted by J. Clayton Wright, choral music director. Carolyn Klassen, piano-organ instructor, is serving as organist.

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