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Class of 2021 celebrates with CLC drive-in commencement ceremony

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published May 17, 2021

Nearly 3,000 degrees and certificates were awarded to College of Lake County students this year. They joined the growing Lancer alumni community of more than 70,000 graduates across Lake County and the country. One third of students graduating earned their associate of arts degree and another third achieved a short-term credential.

Female CLC graduate “Commencement is one of the most important days we celebrate as an educational institution,” CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick said in her commencement address. “While we recognize your academic achievements and personal victories, more than anything we recognize the resilience, flexibility and grace you displayed to achieve your academic goals during a global pandemic. This has challenged you in ways you did not anticipate, and you challenged back and succeeded.”

Over 400 graduates participated in a drive-in commencement ceremony at the Grayslake campus on Saturday, May 15. The big screen parking lot celebration complied with health and safety guidelines during the pandemic. Socially distanced graduates proudly crossed the stage with faculty members cheering them on inside and outside the Physical Education Center.

Female graduate posing for a photo with her Mom and Dad

Among the caps and gowns was honors scholar Annie Ahern. She will study chemistry and enroll in the health professions program on a full-tuition scholarship to Lake Forest College in the fall. The Lake Bluff resident recently volunteered her time this spring volunteering at the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 mass vaccination site and plans to continue her lab experience to become a medical researcher.

Male CLC graduate posing for photos with his family“CLC was a safe place to start my education,” said Ahern. “As a homeschooler through my pre-college years and financially limited student, it was essential for my path that I begin in an affordable, welcoming environment with a small class size. These three things and much, much more were all found on my first tour at CLC, and I made plans to enroll that day.”

Ahern said her favorite part of CLC has been the welcoming and open attitude of the faculty and staff at CLC. “The tone of the classroom is partially dependent on the students, but primarily stems from the engagement of the professor,” said Ahern. “So many of the professors at CLC create a classroom environment, even online, that allows students to comfortably struggle, learn, and succeed.”

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.