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May 18: 50th commencement to include largest group of participating grads

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published May 13, 2019

The College of Lake County will hold its 50th annual commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18 in the Physical Education Center at the Grayslake Campus. The morning and afternoon ceremonies, together, will comprise a total of 549 participating graduates, the largest in the history of the college.

The ceremonies include one at 10 a.m. for transfer degrees (A.A., A.S., A.E.S., A.F.A.) and the other at 2 p.m. for A.A.S. and A.G.S. degrees as well as certificates. Counting all 2019 graduates, the college will confer 1,906 degrees and certificates to 1,805 graduates. Waukegan residents comprise the largest percentage of graduates (13 percent), followed by Gurnee and Grayslake (7 percent each), Round Lake Beach (6 percent) and Mundelein and Lake Villa (5 percent each).

Justin Walker, a business consultant, U.S. Navy veteran and former CLC student, will deliver the commencement address. During his 12 years in the Navy, he served in the Special Forces unit and held leadership positions. From Photo of happy 2018 graduates in Physical Education Center2012 to 2014, Walker attended CLC, where he credits supportive instructors for helping develop his interest in entrepreneurship. Transitioning from the Navy in 2015, he began to help other military veterans pursue their entrepreneurial passions by collaborating with Bunker Labs, a Chicago-based nonprofit. Walker helped the organization expand into 22 cities across the U.S. as it grew into a $3.3 million nonprofit by the time he left in August of 2018.

 Graduates savor the moment at CLC's 2018 commencement ceremonies, held last May at the Grayslake Campus.

The morning ceremony will include remarks William M. Griffin, Ed.D., chair of the CLC Board of Trustees and Ali O’Brien, Ed.D., interim vice president of educational affairs. The afternoon ceremony will include greetings from Catherine M. Finger, Ed.D., vice chair of the CLC Board of Trustees and Karen Hlavin, vice president of student development. Each session includes a kickoff of CLC’s 50th Anniversary campaign, which includes a web page and a 12-month series of events recognizing the college’s five decades of changing lives.

Also addressing the graduates will be Anna Leus, 2018-19 president of the Student Government Association; Elizabeth Aiossa, English professor and winner of the 2019 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member (10 a.m. ceremony); and Maria Jose Tenuto, sociology professor and winner of the 2019 Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member (2 p.m. ceremony). Students Oscar Delgado and Kyle Whitney will sing the national anthem for, respectively, the morning and afternoon ceremonies, and Sam Valenti, president of the CLC Alumni Association, will offer congratulations.

The morning ceremony will have 328 graduates participating, and the afternoon ceremony will have 209 participants. The ceremonies are free and open to the community. No tickets are required; seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The morning ceremony will be streamed live on CLC’s YouTube channel at, and the afternoon session will be streamed at

Graduates and their families are encouraged to share their CLC graduation photos and use the hashtags #CLCgrad19 on CLC social media sites: Facebook (College of Lake County), Twitter (CLCNewsRoom) or Instagram (Collegeoflakecounty).


Class of 2019 statistics; youngest and oldest graduates

CLC’s Class of 2019 comprises 1,785 graduates earning degrees or certificates, of which 46 percent are A.A. degrees and 24 percent are A.A.S. degrees. Another 8 percent are A.S. degrees, 2 percent A.E.S. degrees and 18 percent are certificates.

Sixty-one percent of the graduating class is female, and 39 percent is male. Sixty percent are ages 18-24, while 22 percent are ages 25-34 and 10 percent fall in the 35-44 age group.

The youngest graduate is Rachel Khalimendik, 17, a Round Lake Park resident who will receive an A.A. degree. “The CLC instructors have always provided helpful advice, whether personal or in regard to my higher education,” said Khalimendik, who completed home-schooling in 2016 and plans to major in American literature at Lake Forest College. “I also have made amazing friends at CLC, which has been a second home to me.”

The oldest graduate is Georgia Birutas, 74, a Volo resident who will earn a yoga teacher certificate. “CLC’s instructors are excellent, and the ability to take classes around my schedule was wonderful.,” said Birutas, a former computer programmer who currently works as a care giver and now plans to teach yoga. “It’s excellent to see adult many students and retirees taking classes at CLC. A person should never stop learning.”

CLC’s Summer Session begins June 10, and Fall Semester starts Aug. 19. For details, visit

About College of Lake County:

College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes, provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We’re proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County.