Rowan College announces various ceremonies for 2020 and 2021 graduates

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIKE SCHWARTZ

Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) will gather on campus – with COVID precautions in place – to celebrate both graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 in five ceremonies over three days.

The ceremonies will be held on the campus quad May 19 to 21. The week will conclude with a virtual ceremony on Facebook Live at 7 p.m. on May 21 for those who cannot attend in person.

The college has selected six keynote speakers who will highlight prominent themes of the past year: COVID, social, racial and political unrest and maintaining education during uncertain times.

“After a tumultuous year, we are beyond excited to give our graduates the recognition they deserve while in a socially-distanced and safe outdoor environment,” RCBC President Dr. Michael A. Cioce said in a prepared statement. “These ceremonies are 12 months overdue and will mark a big step toward a more robust return to campus in the fall.”

The five ceremonies will tie the college’s record of five set in 2018 when inclement weather disrupted original plans, according to the statement.

This year’s ceremonies will occur under the following schedule:

Wednesday, May 19 – Liberal Arts 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Featured speakers include Joe Rizzo, an RCBC Criminal Justice instructor who earned Professor of the Year in 2020 and was part of the college’s Healing our Communities conversation on racial and social justice;

Lavett Ballard, an RCBC alumna, who is one of the nation’s top artists whose work captures the African American experience within a historical framework;

President’s Award winner Jazzrein Robinson, who was active in campus ministry and the women’s soccer team, is pursuing a career in elementary education where she will focus on a curriculum that stresses life skills such as holistic well-being and emotional intelligence; and

Valedictorian Nicole Ceballos, an aspiring teacher who came to America from Panama, and went from English as a Second Language classes to top of her graduating class in four years.

Thursday, May 20 – Health Sciences 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Keynote speakers will be Dr. Jennifer LeComte, director of Rowan Integrated Special Needs Center, and faculty member of Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM);

Dr. Danielle Cooley, chair of the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (SOM) Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. Rowan University’s SOM served as a COVID vaccination center where many RCBC nursing students and faculty volunteered gaining valuable clinical experience while assisting in the effort to stop COVID; and

President’s Award Winner Rebekah Feinberg, who is pursuing a career as a cardiovascular surgeon. She volunteered extensively on and off and earned the college’s prestigious Vincent J. Sollimo scholarship for chemistry after participating in a research project about how to sustain life on Mars.

Nursing graduate Katie Divito will announce the Class of 2021’s selection of Professor of the Year.

Friday, May 21 – STEM 10 a.m. 

Scheduled speakers are Congressman Andy Kim, who has been advocating for businesses affected by the pandemic and who helped clean debris following the attacks at the Capitol;

Dr. Neely Hackett, superintendent of the Willingboro School District, whose appointment as leader of the district coincided with the pandemic; and

President’s Award Winner Rebekah Feinberg, who is pursuing a career as a cardiovascular surgeon. She volunteered extensively on and off and earned the college’s prestigious Vincent J. Sollimo scholarship for chemistry after participating in a research project about how to sustain life on Mars.

Friday, May 21 – 7 p.m. virtual ceremony on Facebook 

Students have received communication indicating which ceremony they should attend. The following safety precautions will be in place:

·         Masks are required.

·         Students and guests will be six feet apart with the exception of family pods for guests in the same household.

·         Touchless diploma pickup.

·         Sanitizing of all areas between ceremonies.

·         If rain cancels a ceremony, it will be conducted virtually. The college does not have an auditorium large enough to accommodate these ceremonies within the state guidance for social distancing.

·         Requirements may be adjusted according to the latest guidance from state health officials.

For more information, visit http://rcbc.edu