It turned from day to night as graduates from Mitchell Community College were recognized during commencement Friday evening. The front of Mitchell’s campus, affectionately known as “The Circle,” was flooded with families, friends and students eager to receive that hallowed piece of paper.
As “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the air, students and faculty filled out in procession as guests clamored to spot their loved ones. Cheers and well wishes nearly drowned out the ceremonial music as the few hundred graduates took their seats.
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Dr. Ralph Bentley welcomed guests and introduced the Board of Trustees followed by a performance of “Closer to the Flame” by the Mitchell Chorus. President of Mitchell College Dr. James Brewer began his address to graduates with some advice.
“Your willingness to continue and learn will be a key to your success,” he said.
Dr. Brewer also presented the President’s Award to Jessica Scarborough. He explained the award is given to students who display exceptional commitment to their education and praised her for pursuing a fine arts degree, especially while being a busy mother.
The tone of the commencement turned somber as Brewer awarded a degree to Keno Wilson in memoriam. He said Wilson had been studying applied sciences at Mitchell, but had passed in early 2019.
“The cause does not make it any less painful,” Dr. Brewer said. “He was committed to his success and the success of classmates.”
He added that Wilson was truly a joy to teach, guide and mentor. Members of Wilson’s family took the stage to accept the degree, each of them wearing shirts with his face emblazoned across the front.
“Although we miss his presence, we are thankful for the time we had with him,” Dr. Brewer said.
The graduates then rose to accept their degrees, a process that took about an hour to complete. As the sun slowly sank behind the horizon, a full moon peaked out over the ceremony; a seemingly appropriate moment for graduates as their new phase of life begins.