Polk State’s 108th Commencement is May 7, Largest of Its Kind in College History

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College will celebrate its 108th commencement at 6:30 p.m. on May 7 at The Lakeland Center.

A total of 927 students qualify to march during the ceremony, making it the largest single-term graduation in the College’s history. Polk State’s graduation is also the largest among colleges and universities in Polk County.

Of the College’s graduates, 61 will receive their Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management degrees, which prepare students for career advancement in a variety of business-related fields, including Business Administration, Business Information Technology, Healthcare Administration, Public Administration, and Public Safety Management.

Another eight graduates will receive their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, becoming the second graduating class since the BSN was launched in 2011.

The majority of the graduates — 639, or nearly 70 percent — will receive their Associate in Arts degrees, which are parallel and fully transferrable to the State University System.

Another 157 graduates, or 17 percent, will receive Associate in Science degrees, and 34 will receive Associate in Applied Science degrees, both of which are designed to lead to the workforce.

The remaining graduates will receive various certificates that lead to immediate employment opportunities.

Of the total number of graduates, 31 will receive the College’s Honors Program distinction on their diplomas. Honors Program graduates must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours with the Honors designation. The number of Honors graduates this semester is the highest since the College began the program in 2005.

During the ceremony, the College will present its Distinguished Alumnus Award to Steve Hogan, a 1989 graduate and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Sports.

Florida Citrus Sports is a nonprofit event management company that is responsible for producing the Capital One Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Florida Blue Florida Classic, Orlando Citrus Parade, and other Central Florida events designed to boost the area’s economy and benefit at-risk children and educational initiatives.

After graduating from Polk State, Hogan received a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Central Florida in 1991. He worked for McCaw Communications and The New York Times before joining Florida Citrus Sports in 1995 in the events department. Through the years, he worked his way up to events manager, assistant executive director, and interim executive director, taking over the position of CEO in 2006.

The guest speaker at the commencement ceremony will be Kasongo Butler, assistant chancellor for the Division of Florida Colleges at the Florida Department of Education. Butler is responsible for governmental relations, outreach, best practices, leadership development, and student recognition for the Florida College System.

Butler has a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Florida A&M University, and graduated from the University of Miami School of Law.

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:

  • Approximately 434 students plan to march in the commencement ceremony.
  • 107 students have earned the academic distinction of Cum Laude with a grade-point average of 3.4 to 3.74; 39 students have earned Magna Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.65 to 3.9; and 30 have earned Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.9 or higher. Sixteen graduates have a 4.0 GPA.
  • The age range of the graduates is 15 to 69.
  • In addition to Florida, graduates represent Utah, Texas and New York.

Polk State College, an open-access institution, was established in 1964, and serves more than 20,000 students annually. Its offerings include the Associate in Arts, which is parallel and fully transferrable to the State University System, and the Associate in Science, which is designed to lead directly to the workforce. The College also offers a variety of continuing education and certificate programs. For more information, visit polk.edu.