Nashville State Holds Virtual Graduation Ceremony


Nashville State Community College today celebrated the success of more than 1,200 students, 670 of whom were Spring 2020 graduates, during a virtual graduation ceremony.

The College decided earlier this year to hold an online ceremony, the first virtual commencement in its 50-year history, due to COVID-19 health concerns.

“Class of 2020, you have worked very hard to finish what you started at Nashville State,” said Nashville State President Dr. Shanna L. Jackson. “If you can complete college during a global pandemic, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot do. We are so very proud of you.”

“Graduation is my favorite day of the year,” continued Jackson. “It is an affirmation of why I choose do to this work, a recognition that education changes not just the lives of the individual student but their families. It is indeed a joyous celebration of a dream or goal realized. And although every graduation is special, this ceremony is the first of its kind.”

The Honorable John Cooper, the ninth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, provided the commencement speech.

“Somehow, despite the storms and the virus, and the disruption and the worry. Somehow, despite how much harder it has been just to get everyday jobs done – to get homework done, to participate in classes, to communicate with teachers and advisors, even to buy groceries – you all put your heads down and finished your work,” said Mayor Cooper.

“By earning a degree, you have invested in your future,” added Cooper. “But you have also strengthened our future. Nashville succeeds when you succeed – when we succeed.”

Ms. Katlyn LaFever, Summa Cum Laude, who earned an Associate of Science in Psychology, also spoke during commencement.

“I would like to leave you with a word of advice from musician and artist Amanda Palmer. She speaks of how we cannot do anything good with our lives without experiencing pain or adversity, but it is up to us what we choose to do with it. Amanda says it best when she says: Eat the pain, send it back to the void as love. And I am proud to say that you have done this, graduates. You have taken your struggles and adversity and you have turned them into something beautiful and worthwhile.”

LaFever will continue her undergraduate studies in psychology at Emory University in Atlanta. Her goal is to eventually obtain a PhD and work as a psychologist, concentrating on how trauma affects the brain on a behavioral and biological level. In addition to graduating summa cum laude, LaFever is a Phi Theta Kappa All-USA Academic Team Nominee for 2019-20.

Of the 1,248 graduates, 387 used the tuition-free Tennessee Reconnect program while 348 used the tuition-free Tennessee Promise program. Sixty-two graduates are Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Graduates included several Middle College students who earned their associate degree while also finishing their high school career. Middle College, transitioning to Early College for Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) high school students starting their freshman year, is located at Nashville State’s White Bridge campus.

Nashville State and MNPS have been working together to better prepare students for college, with some taking advantage of opportunities to earn their Associate’s degree at the same time as their high school diploma.

Earlier this year, both organizations signed a formal agreement that strengthens their partnership in an unprecedented new joint venture called Better Together to create even greater outcomes and opportunities for Nashville students.

Also, addressing graduates were the Honorable Emily Reynolds, Vice Chair, Tennessee Board of Regents; Dr. Sarah Roberts, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Devora Manier, Assistant Professor, ESL and Faculty Senate Chair. Governor Bill Lee provided greetings.

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