WATCH: JCC held annual spring commencement exclusively online for the first time


Jonathan A. Brown, Sackets Harbor, was the Jefferson Community College Spring Commencement student speaker for Jefferson’s Class of 2020 spring commencement. (JCC)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – For the first time ever, Jefferson Community College held its annual spring commencement ceremony exclusively online. The virtual event took place on May 15 and is now viewable anytime on the College’s YouTube channel. 

Jefferson’s Class of 2020 is comprised of 324 students who are candidates for graduation in May or August of 2020 pending satisfactory completion of coursework. Ten students completed more than one diploma or certificate, bringing the total number of degrees and certificates awarded to 334.

27% of graduates are adult learners, aged 25 years or older, and 66% of graduates are from Jefferson County. JCC continues to be a strong educational partner of Fort Drum with 40% of the Class of 2020 comprised of active duty soldiers and their family members and veterans. 24 students are member of JCC’s Tau Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and 5 students participated in JCC’s Honors Program.

The Commencement keynote speaker was College president Dr. Ty A. Stone. She congratulated graduates saying, “To have finished your education in one of the most unprecedented times in our world history makes this accomplishment even more gratifying for you. Think about all those times doubt showed up….I say look at you now, you’re all college material and you proved that.”

The student commencement speaker was veteran Jonathan A. Brown, Sackets Harbor. Brown graduated with his associate in science degree in individual studies. Brown served as vice president of Student Government and in this role represented the College at the annual SUNY Assembly meeting held in Albany.

He worked in the College’s Veterans Services office and assisted peers with applying for VA benefits and showed his support with volunteering his time at luncheons and club meetings. Additionally, Brown coordinated an obstacle course for students as one component of the College’s Military Appreciation Week.

Earning a 4.0 GPA while a student at Jefferson, Jonathan was named to the President’s List. He is a member of the College’s Tau Xi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and National Society of Leadership and Success. He is also a member of the College’s TRIO STAR program. He plans to transfer to SUNY Oswego in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in media and business management.

During Jefferson’s virtual Commencement ceremony, Sarah M. Wilder, of Copenhagen, and Rebekah E. Widrick, of Lowville, were recognized for receiving the State University of New York Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence. 

Five Jefferson faculty and staff were recognized for receiving SUNY Chancellor’s Awards, one of the most prestigious honors that can be conferred upon SUNY professionals. The award recognizes extraordinary achievement and encourages the continuation of excellence.

Award recipients are:

  • Bruce F. Alexander, Director of Administrative Services, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service
  • Dr. Venkat Chebolu, Professor of Chemistry, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Susan Hughes, Building Maintenance Mechanic, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service
  • Dr. Ilka Luyt, Adjunct Instructor of English, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching
  • Dawn A. Robinson, Assistant Professor of Business, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Two graduates from Jefferson Higher Education Center partner, SUNY Potsdam, participated in Jefferson’s virtual ceremony. Cassandra B. Storey graduated with her Master of Science in Teaching degree in childhood education and Megan Hill graduated with her Master of Science in Education degree in literacy specialist.

In December 2019, Jefferson Community College honored 174 candidates for graduation, combined with 324 students who are candidates for graduation in May or August of 2020 pending satisfactory completion of coursework, bringing the total for the 2019 – 2020 academic year to 498 students who have, or are candidates, to graduate.


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