CLC’s First Ever Fall Graduation


Dean Gabe Lara as Nigel.

Danielle Broege, Staff Reporter

This Thursday, December 15th, the College of Lake County had its first-ever fall graduation ceremony. The school will also celebrated distinguished groups within the class. 150 students were registered to attend the ceremony.

“We have a lot of students who graduate in the fall, but they have to wait five, six months later to actually walk the stage. Many of them will have already left by that time. Whether they transfer to a new school, whether they move away, this was an option to say, ‘hey, you just graduated, let’s give you that celebration.’” Said Gabe Lara, dean of student life. 

Because of the pandemic, CLC has changed its typical graduation ceremony. In 2020, drive-through graduations saw some success. Due to cold weather, that was not an option this fall. However, there were plenty of opportunities for students to take pictures with family, classmates, and teachers.

“It’s going to be a little bit of both of that student experience type of opportunity, but still with traditional components. So for the student experience, we are going to have balloon decorations to cheer the students on. We’re going to have a big balloon photo drop for pictures. We have a three-sixty camera where students and their families can take pictures. We’re going to have personalized cookies to pass out. There will be a fall commencement, a coffee station, a lemonade station, all that stuff.” Lara said.

Along with all the student experiences that CLC is adding, the tradition of giving diplomas and having students walk across the stage was kept. CLC has taken significant steps towards inclusion for all students and had individualized celebrations for certain groups.

“We have our African-American student outreach and programs coordinator, Latinx, undocumented, LGBTQ, women’s, and military affiliated program coordinators. Each of these groups have a special celebration for them. A lot of the times, marginalized communities are not seen enough in higher education during a big celebration. We want to celebrate each of them individually in their successes, and they’re still going to be part of the main celebration, so they get a graduation stole specifically for their culture.” said Lara.

If you identify with one or more of these groups, you don’t have to choose one. You are allowed to get a stole with each group you identify with; when you graduate, all you have to do is go to the celebration to receive your stole. 

Hosting a graduation ceremony in the fall is a good way to make sure everyone gets to celebrate their graduation, especially considering the nature of a community college. This new addition to CLC’s commencement ceremonies will prove to be a benefit to all those who would not otherwise be able to celebrate their journey.