The month of May is a wonderful time for many college students. Graduates feel a sense of elation as they move on to the next phase of their academic or career journeys, and other students enjoy a sense of accomplishment for all they have done in the year. We celebrate with all of those students.
More than 950 people have earned degrees from Waubonsee this year. Of that number, 10 will graduate with two degrees. Forty-one students earned Presidential Honors of a 4.0 grade-point average and 258 earned Academic Honors of a GPA between 3.5 and 3.9. Two students graduate from Waubonsee’s Honors Program. The youngest graduate is 18 and the oldest is 59. The average age of this year’s class is 27. The average GPA of this group of students is 3.16, a tremendous collective accomplishment.
These graduates accomplished much in their time at Waubonsee and deserve to be recognized. In addition to the regular challenges of college coursework, this class was challenged to learn in new virtual ways. Because of COVID-19, we are not able to celebrate their accomplishments in a traditional commencement ceremony. I deeply regret this and hope that all our graduates understand that even though there will not be that traditional ceremony this year, it does not diminish their accomplishments in any way. And we are in the process of planning some unique ways to celebrate with the Waubonsee 2020 graduating class.
In May 1780, Abigail Adams sent a letter to her 12-year-old son, John Quincy, who was away with his father. In the letter, she wrote, “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought with ardor and diligence.”
When this academic year began in August, none of us anticipated the transformation our world would go through before the year ended. Our students have experienced historic and remarkable changes in the past few months and while doing that, they pursued their education “with ardor and diligence.” Many of our graduates will go on and study this period of time in a variety of ways and their firsthand experience will give them an amazing perspective and understanding. They will be the scientists studying diseases to keep us safe and healthy, the health care workers providing us care, the sociologists helping bring us together after this time of being apart, the historians putting this in context and the writers helping us make sense of all of it.
The Waubonsee Community College class of 2020 is graduating in the middle of a historic time. But that’s not the end of their story. They will make their own history and in turn, strengthen our communities and world.
I congratulate all of this year’s graduates and I look forward to celebrating and recognizing their future achievements.
• Christine J. Sobek is the president of Waubonsee Community College.