Introducing VU's 2021 Mid-Year Commencement Student Speakers

Introducing VU's 2021 Mid-Year Commencement Student Speakers

2021 mid-year commencement speakers

November 29, 2021

VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University students are blazing their trail, achieving success, and building brighter futures while working toward a college degree.

Two of these students, Olivia Lankford and Parker Timberman, were selected to address their fellow graduates during VU's in-person Mid-Year Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 4. The celebrations at 10:30 a.m. (EST) and 1 p.m. (EST) in the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center are the University’s first in-person Commencement ceremonies since before the pandemic.

All commencement ceremonies are ticketed events. Graduates do not need a ticket. Tickets are required for family and guests. For those unable to attend in person, the Commencement programs will stream live on Vincennes University's YouTube channel:

Meet Parker Timberman (Brazil, Indiana) Class of ‘21

(10:30 a.m. ceremony)

Parker Timberman is honored to be a Commencement Student Speaker and is super excited to be part of the in-person celebration.

"Holding in-person ceremonies is fantastic," he said. "Graduation is the culmination of all the hard work my fellow graduates have put into obtaining our degrees."

Timberman is graduating with an associate degree in General Studies. When he is on stage at Mid-Year Commencement, he’ll have his service dog, Herb, at his side.

"VU has helped me achieve my goals and dreams by being a constant source of encouragement and help throughout my time here," he said.

During his VU journey, he was on Homecoming Court and served as a student representative in the Office of Diverse Abilities and Accommodations. He also participated in the Psychology Club.

The essence of Timberman’s Commencement speech is celebration.

"As well as an appreciation for our family, friends, faculty, and staff that supported us along the way," he said.

His career aspirations include helping others, just as others have helped him. Timberman is transferring to Indiana University in Bloomington. He plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in Recreational Therapy. He dreams of working as a recreational therapist at Bradford Woods, IU’s Outdoor Center.

"It will allow me to impact the lives of other individuals with physical and developmental disabilities in a positive way," Timberman said.

Meet Olivia Lankford (Vincennes, Indiana) Class of ‘21

(1 p.m. ceremony)

Olivia Lankford has had an active presence on the Vincennes Campus. Her involvement includes Student Ambassador, 2021 Homecoming Queen, Campus Activities Board Public Relations Coordinator, Communications Club member, and now Commencement Speaker.

She is thankful for the experiences she has created at VU.

"VU has allowed us students to form relationships and make memories with our peers, friends, and even professors," she said.

Lankford is thrilled about helping her fellow graduates mark a significant milestone in their lives and celebrate their tremendous accomplishments.

"I was lucky enough to attend a small high school where we were able to have a limited graduation, but many students weren’t able to get that," she said. "So being able to celebrate their college degree in person will be very special to them and their families." 

Lankford will receive an associate degree in Public Relations and Communication. She will graduate summa cum laude and is a recipient of a Blue and Gold Award. She has received an Achievement in Communication Award and was named to VU’s dean’s list for the Spring Semester 2021.

"VU has helped me flourish as a college student because I was able to reach out to my professors for any help I needed," she said. "My most significant experience would be my relationship with my advisor, professor, and mentor Dr. MaryAnn Seward. She has supported me, pushed me to get active on campus, and also led me to the success that I have had at VU."

After VU, Lankford is transferring to the University of Southern Indiana. She expects to study Public Relations and Advertising with an emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Social Media. She would like to work in public relations or medical sales.

For more information about 2021 Mid-Year Commencement Exercises, see Graduates of the College of Business and Public Service and the College of Humanities will be celebrated during the 10:30 a.m. session at Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. Graduates in the College of Technology; College of Social Science, Performing Arts, and Communication; College of Health Sciences and Human Performance; College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics; Distance Education; and Certificates will be celebrated during the 1 p.m. session at RSPAC.