Celebrating the Class of 2021 at Mid-Year Commencement - External Relations
Celebrating the Class of 2021 at Mid-Year Commencement
December 6, 2021
VINCENNES, Ind. - Exuberant Vincennes University graduates, wearing masks, gowns, and mortarboards, marched into the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 4, as notes of “Pomp and Circumstance” filled the auditorium.
VU hosted two Mid-Year Commencement ceremonies to honor the Class of 2021 and recognize graduates' success and achievements. The ceremonies were the University’s first in-person Commencement celebrations since December 2019, prior to the global pandemic.
It was an incredibly special day as graduates enjoyed a beloved rite of passage with VU faculty and staff, peers, families, friends, and loved ones. As the names of graduates were called to accept their degrees, they walked across a stage ringed with red and white poinsettias, lined with ceremonial banners, and surrounded by VU administrators, trustees, faculty, and staff in graduation regalia.
The University conferred 648 bachelor’s and associate degrees in addition to certificates. The graduates are from 63 of Indiana’s 92 counties, 32 states, and three countries.
They represented all VU sites, including VU Jasper, Gibson County Center, American Sign Language in Indianapolis, Indianapolis Aviation Technology Center, Distance Education, and Military Education.
VU Provost, Vice President of Instructional Services, and Dean of Faculty Dr. Laura Treanor presided over the Commencement exercises.
VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson addressed graduates and offered words of wisdom to inspire them as they embark upon new beginnings. He emphasized five hopeful words: read, listen, think, act, and reflect. He urged graduates to challenge what they read, to have a willingness to listen, to engage with people in thoughtful and honest dialogue, and to think about both long-term and short-term implications. He encouraged them to trust their judgment and to reflect on their experiences to be a better person, a better parent, a better boss, a better employee, a better entrepreneur, or more.
“If you do those five things, read, listen, think, act, and reflect, and it is a cycle...it is a cycle that will help you get through life and maybe some of the challenges you’re going to face as you go through life,” Johnson said.
The ceremonies also featured a pair of student speakers: Parker Timberman of Brazil, Indiana, and Olivia Lankford of Vincennes. Timberman, who is transferring to Indiana University, spoke during the first ceremony and received an Associate of Science in General Studies. Lankford received an Associate of Science in Public Relations and Communication and will continue her educational journey at the University of Southern Indiana.
Lankford pointed to the many successes and experiences of the Class of 2021. She also happily shared memories of the many extracurricular campus activities that have been part of her VU journey and praised the support she received from the VU faculty.
"While I was growing up, I listened to my mom talk about her friends and the memories she made at VU," Lankford told her fellow graduates. “The relationships that we have created with classmates, friends, professors, and anyone else have made us who we are today. Now I fully understand what my mom meant because I have now experienced it myself. My time at Vincennes University has truly been one of the best times of my life.”
During his speech, Timberman reflected on the Class of 2021’s past experiences and looked to the future.
“We will grow and change, but the memories will remain,” Timberman said. “So wherever you go and whatever we do, always remember what we have learned here. Let it be a reminder that we can overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal we put our minds to.”