Student speakers to share positive messages during Mid-Year Virtual Commencement

Student speakers to share positive messages during Mid-Year Virtual Commencement

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December 08, 2020

December 8, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. – Rosalynn Kowal and Lacey Lane will inspire their fellow graduates as student speakers at Vincennes University’s Mid-Year Virtual Commencement 2020 on Dec. 12.

VU is proud to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the Class of 2020. The ceremony is a well-deserved celebration of their hard work and success, especially during a challenging year. It has been a rewarding and remarkable journey for the graduates, and they will celebrate their significant achievements by walking the virtual stage and receiving their diplomas.

The virtual commencement will stream at or tune in to Vincennes PBS at 11 a.m. EST. VU will confer 589 degrees, and the graduates represent 63 of Indiana’s 92 counties, 27 states, and two countries.

Dr. Laura Treanor, provost and vice president of Instructional Services, will convene the commencement ceremony. VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson will greet the Class of 2020.

Albert Chen will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business and the PaceMaker Paddle during the virtual event. Chen is the founder and executive chairman of Telamon, which is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, and is one of the largest private companies in Indiana. Chen is being honored for his outstanding leadership and his commitment to advancing innovative technology, business, intercultural and international relationships, and higher education.

Lane and Kowal are honored and humbled to be representing the Class of 2020.

“I want all the graduates to know not to give up,” Lane said. “Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my life. Once I decided I needed to finish my degree and go back to school, I put my mind to it and did it. I want everyone to know not to give up. No matter how hard things may seem, you are going to get past it, and it’s going to be OK.”

Kowal wants fellow graduates to embrace all they’ve experienced at VU.

“We came here to learn the skills needed to earn our degree or certificate, and Vincennes University has prepared us,” Kowal said. “Your programs and skills are important, but look at everything else you have learned from your friendships to your relationships, and take that with you moving forward. Covid-19 has really shown us the skills that we need that are going to make us extra successful moving into our careers like adaptability and versatility and being able to face adversity. That goes beyond any skill you’d learn in a book.”

Lane attended VU as a teenager. Decades later, the mother and wife from Vincennes is finishing her education to help further her career. She is a full-time administrative assistant for the United Way of Knox County, Indiana and Crawford County, Illinois. She is very community-oriented. She sits on multiple boards and participates in the Rotary Club, 100 Women Who Care, and Old Town Players. 

Lane will receive an associate degree in business management. She will continue attending VU in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in technology with a concentration in business management and administration. 

“During the year we have gone through a lot, we have all been able to persevere and finish,” Lane said. “We have persevered through every crazy thing that has happened this year. It is amazing that we have been able to get to where we are.”

This is the second virtual commencement Kowal is participating in. She earned an associate degree in precision machining technology from VU during the 2020 spring semester. 

Kowal, who is from Indianapolis, will receive an associate degree in advanced CNC machining and programming technology during Mid-Year Commencement. She plans to transfer to Purdue University and pursue a degree in agricultural engineering. A 10-year member of 4H, Kowal has aspirations of designing harvesting equipment for the agricultural industry.

She jumped at the chance to wrap up her VU career as a student speaker during commencement.

“I try to help other people have great opportunities at VU,” Kowal said. “That’s why I am involved in so many different clubs. That’s why I tell people about scholarship opportunities. I’ve received several scholarships from the VU Foundation and I’ve been able to alleviate all my costs for school. I want to help the student body, so I’m a RA (resident assistant). I want to share the experience I’ve had with others.”

Watch Mid-Year Commencement on Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. EST: or Vincennes PBS.