Polk State College’s 105thCommencement will be Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Health Center on the Winter Haven campus.
A total of 406 students will march during the ceremony. During the commencement, the College will bestow 207 Associate in Arts degrees; 93 Associate in Science degrees; 38 Associate in Applied Science degrees; and 24 Bachelor of Applied Science degrees. The remaining students will receive various certificates that lead directly to employment opportunities.
Also among the graduates are 14 who participated in the College’s Honors Program.
The ceremony’s guest speaker will be Adrian Jones, general manager of the recently opened LEGOLAND Florida and a vice president of Merlin Entertainments Inc. USA. Jones is a graduate of Nottingham Trent University in England. He has worked in the theme park and attraction industry since 1993, having previously managed Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, the country’s first LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Schaumburg, Ill., and Madame Tussauds Hollywood. He was named head of LEGOLAND Florida in 2010.
The College will present its Distinguished Alumnus Award to Rita S. Smith, who received her Associate in Arts degree in Psychology from the College in 1974. She went on to receive her bachelor’s in the same field from Michigan State University in 1976. Since 1993, she has served as the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Smith has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and national news broadcasts, speaking against domestic violence. She was also present in the Oval Office in 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. She hopes to one day create a shelter for domestic violence survivors in Winter Haven.
Polk State College has awarded more than 35,000 degrees since it was founded in 1964. Here is a more detailed look at this semester’s graduating class:
- A total of 1,274 students will graduate, including the 406 students who will march in the commencement ceremony.
- Of the 1,274 total, 860 will receive Associate in Arts degrees; 192 will receive Associate in Science degrees; 54 will receive Associate in Applied Science degrees; 36 will receive Bachelor of Applied Science degrees; and 132 will receive certificates.
- The age range of graduates is from 17 to 67. Among those marching in the commencement ceremony, the range is 18 to 67.
- The 1,274 graduates represent: California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Texas and Puerto Rico. Among those marching in the ceremony, all but one graduate is from Florida.
- Of total graduates, about 35 percent are male and 65 percent are female. Of those marching in the ceremony, 23 percent are male and 77 percent are female.
- There are eight graduates who have a 4.0 GPA; four will march in the ceremony.