Record-Setting Winter Commencement Held

December 19, 2023

Graduates stand at commencementCentral Community College held its third all-college winter commencement ceremony on Dec. 15. A total of 372 candidates were eligible to graduate and 100 took part in the ceremony. Both are record numbers for winter graduation.

After holding the first all-college winter graduation in 2021 at Grand Island and the second last year at CCC-Hastings, this year’s festivities were held at the Columbus Campus. Dr. Elizabeth Klitz, CCC dean of student success and enrollment management, said the change of venue didn’t deter the graduates or their families and friends.

“There is, you know, 80 or 90 miles between some of our campuses, and so we were wondering, would our numbers be different holding (commencement) on the Columbus Campus,” said Klitz. “What we saw is that graduates want to participate, and family and friends want to come celebrate this achievement. So, we are thrilled that we’ve had the largest number of eligible graduates and the largest number participating.”

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Kellie Pickett, the vice president for college access and success at the Susan T. Buffett Foundation. She is also a board member of the National Scholarship Providers Association.

“As you think about your time here at Central Community College, I’m sure you can think of lots of successes and lots of challenges to get to this point,” said Pickett. “I’m sure you can picture times when you’ve had to work really hard, made some difficult choices, and you had to make some sacrifices along the way. You probably had some great fun and I hope you made some great memories.”

Over the past two decades, Pickett has worked at such higher educational institutions as Duke University, Georgia Southern University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In her current role, she works with people and communities across the state to ensure that Nebraskans have clear pathways into higher education as well as the resources and support they need to reach their college goals. Pickett encouraged the graduates to use the skills they learned at CCC to make a difference in the lives of others.

“You are poised to go out and make significant and unique contributions in your communities,” Pickett said. “Share your stories. Share your experiences. Be authentic in your conversations and in your workplaces. Find people who will teach you things, tell you the honest truth, and challenge and support you to achieve the things that are important to you.”

Spectrum, the select choir from the Columbus Campus, performed the national anthem and “Carol of the Bells.” CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall and all three campus presidents offered remarks during the ceremony.