Illinois Central College Graduates Turn Their Tassels in Virtual Commencement

Illinois Central College hosted a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, to celebrate their recent graduates. Students and their families, along with faculty and staff, viewed the live ceremony from the safety of their homes via the college’s YouTube and Facebook pages. 

Participating graduates were presented with personalized slides, including their submitted photos, quotes, or messages of thanks. Student of the Year awards were presented to Kendra McGrath and Stephen Josiah Lohrer, while Jonathan Parker and Titania Vargas were recognized with faculty awards. 

For the commencement address, the college welcomed back Mr. Kim Blickenstaff, local community developer and ICC alumnus. Mr. Blickenstaff’s message, inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s “13 Virtues”, detailed his eight personal virtues that he has used to guide his life and career. 

ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey said, “Although we are celebrating differently this year, we hope the graduates look back and proudly remember this as a time of unquestionable triumph – a time when they endured, overcame, and succeeded.” She shared her heartfelt congratulations and encouraged graduates to continue building their resiliency, citing Dr. Dennis S. Charney’s “Resilience Prescription.” 

Graduate Megan Earhart earned her Associate degree as a Registered Nurse and shared, “Due to the education I’ve received at ICC, I can now serve my community in a meaningful way, and know every day I’m using my work to save lives.” Graduate Olivia Koll earned her Associate in Arts in Accounting and shared, “Thanks to ICC for a great two years, for allowing me to meet some of my best friends and shout out to Professor Kelly for giving me my love of accounting!”  

ICC committed to making the virtual commencement the best possible celebration for their graduates. Prior to the event, the college sent “celebration boxes” to the students who chose to participate in the virtual ceremony. The boxes included a cap and tassel, diploma cover, commencement programs, alumni license plate, and other celebratory items. The ICC community was encouraged to wear blue and gold and share photos on social media using the hashtag #ICCgrad2020. 

Graduate Siobhan Decker said, “Although my graduation commencement isn’t what I planned, it is still a special occasion. The celebration box ICC mailed to me was a wonderful surprise! It took away some of the disappointment of not being able to walk across the stage, and it made me excited for this graduation again.” 

Dr. Quirk-Bailey stated, “While we are in unprecedented times, there’s never been more reason to celebrate. In fact, we have 2,142 reasons to celebrate, which is how many students have qualified for graduation and completed their requirements.” ICC has awarded more than 72,000 degrees and certificates and has touched over half a million lives since opening its doors in 1967.  

A recording of the virtual ceremony is now available for graduates to share with family, friends, and on social media. The ceremony recording is available on a dedicated commencement webpage,  ICC’s YouTube channel and Facebook Live event. Any graduate receiving a degree or certificate can download their shareable name slide at Graduates who preregistered and submitted personalized slides can also download their slides at: 


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