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AVON PARK, Fla. – Dec. 18, 2020 – For South Florida State College (SFSC) graduates who gathered in the Alan Jay Wildstein Theater for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Dec. 17, the 2020 Commencement ceremony was a time to celebrate, while taking precautions during the pandemic. Graduates were honored from both the spring 2020 graduating class and those graduating in December 2020.
Early in the program, Joe Wright, chair of the SFSC Board of Trustees, addressed the graduates by saying, “You are the most prepared class we have ever had.” He explained that the Class of 2020 is the class of the pandemic year. “No one can tell you exactly what to do, because we have never seen times like this. You have had to deal with emotional strain and social isolation, face financial hardship, think quickly on your feet, be creative, take risks, and be both flexible and realistic. Completing your college degree in this year’s environment has accelerated your maturity in ways you may not fully appreciate for a while. Nevertheless, you persevered. SFSC Class of 2020, you are the most prepared class we have ever had.”
The graduates received congratulations and further words of wisdom from Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president. “Today, we stand in unity for the purpose of celebrating accomplishments. It’s a unity that we embrace collectively, for today is the culmination of what we do as we uphold the instructional mission of South Florida State College.”
Through much of Dr. Leitzel’s presentation, he emphasized one particular phrase. “You heard me say, ‘Keep moving,’” he said. “That is more than just a processional message during Commencement. I truly mean ‘keep moving.’ Move on to your next opportunity with confidence. Move toward your next academic credential. Move toward that next promotion at work. Move toward the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Just keep moving. Whatever you do, keep moving forward. Be safe. Work hard. Apply the lessons you learned in the classroom … and keep moving.”
During the ceremony, Dr. Leitzel gave special recognition to two individuals who served the College with excellence and will retire in December. Glenn Little, vice president for administrative services, retires after having served SFSC for 35 years. Dawn Pisarski, professor of nursing, retires after having served the College for 11 1/2 years.
The number of students participating in the December Commencement ceremonies totaled 162.
Approximately 462 students met the SFSC requirements for spring 2020 Commencement. Of these, 21 received their Bachelor of Science in Supervision and Management (BAS-SM), 10 received their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), 13 received their Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE), 205 received their Associate in Arts (A.A.), 73 received their Associate in Science (A.S.), five received their State of Florida High School diplomas, and 135 received career certificates and college credit certificates.
Approximately 255 students will have met the SFSC requirements by December Commencement. Of these, 13 will receive their BAS-SM, one will receive their BSEE, 95 will receive their A.A., 33 receive their A.S., 19 will receive their State of Florida High School diplomas, and 94 will receive career certificates and college credit certificates.
The mace bearer and chief marshal for this year’s ceremony is Beth Andrews. Marshals are Tom Bohan, Kathleen Cappo, Joan Davies, Rob Hampton, Theresa James, Cindy Kinser, Ricardo Pantoja, Lena Phelps, Andy Polk, and Tina Stetson.