More than 550 students with Polk State College’s 121st graduating class will walk the stage Thursday, Dec. 12, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland to receive their diplomas.
The commencement ceremony, which is a free ticketed event, will start at 6:30 p.m. at 701 W. Lime St.
Students who submitted their graduation applications by the Oct. 4 deadline and indicated that they plan to participate in the ceremony may redeem up to eight tickets for their guests by Dec. 1. Those who have already redeemed are encouraged to check their emails to access their tickets.
Students who applied after the graduation application deadline may redeem up to six tickets until it is determined that the ceremony has reached capacity.
Members of the public may redeem up to two tickets starting Dec. 2, also until it is determined that the ceremony has reached capacity. Information on how to redeem tickets is available online at polk.edu/academics/graduation.
The ceremony will feature remarks from Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti and December 2019 Distinguished Alumna Susan Copeland.
“Commencement marks a significant milestone of perseverance and success for Polk State’s students, and the College is proud to celebrate its newest graduates who will join a network of more than 50,000 alumni,” Falconetti said. “With 70 percent of Polk State students remaining in Polk County after graduation, their success is truly our success, and I am thrilled to watch them soar to new heights as our next entrepreneurs, teachers, healthcare professionals, and more.”
A total of 1,191 students qualify to walk in the ceremony. Eighty-five percent of this semester’s graduates are Polk County residents. Polk State’s 121st graduating class includes:
- 280 students who will receive degrees from one of the College’s baccalaureate degree programs.
- 158 will receive the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management
- 13 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Sciences
- 65 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- 27 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
- 14 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
- 3 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
- 659 students who will receive Polk State Associate in Arts degrees, which are fully transferable to any institution within the State University System.
- 252 students who will receive Polk State Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, which prepare students to transition directly into the workforce in fields including nursing, engineering technology, and diagnostic medical sonography.
- 17 students who will graduate Summa Cum Laude with grade-point averages (GPAs) of 3.9 or greater; 63 who will graduate Magna Cum Laude with GPAs between 3.75 and 3.89; and 170 who will graduate Cum Laude with GPAs between 3.5 and 3.74.
- 17 students who will receive the College’s Honors Program distinction on their diplomas. These students have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours in courses with Honors Program designation and achieved GPAs of 3.2 or greater.
- Graduates as young as 17 and as old as 62.
- In addition to Florida, students from Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, District of Colombia, and China.
The College will also honor Copeland, Executive Director of the Polk Education Foundation, with the December 2019 Distinguished Alumna Award.
Copeland, an Auburndale High School graduate who achieved her Polk State Associate in Arts degree in 1986, has served Polk County Schools for 27 years. She assumed her current position in 2005 and the Polk Education Foundation has since ranked in the top 10 education foundations nationwide.
Through her work, Copeland has maintained a strong relationship with Polk State, with the Polk Education Foundation’s scholarship programs awarding approximately $50,000 annually to high school students who continue their academic journeys at the College. She has also served the Polk State College Alumni Association and the Polk State College Foundation Board.
“Susan continues to pay it forward to give students the opportunity she had to advance their education at Polk State,” Falconetti said. “Her story will instill in our graduating students the importance of giving back to their community and leading their lives with community servant hearts.”