COCC to hold drive-thru commencement for 2020, 2021 graduates

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Central Oregon Community College’s 2021 commencement ceremony will take place on the Bend campus as a drive-thru event, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 12.

The event will be open to graduates of both 2021 and 2020, who will be assigned a specific time slot depending on their major.

Graduates will be able to exit their vehicle, in turn, and receive their degree or certificate on stage. College officials have coordinated the event to occur only on campus roadways, to avoid any congestion on College Way.

“We anticipate awarding 200 degrees and certificates at commencement this year,” said Tyler Hayes, COCC’s director of admissions, regarding expected attendees. In all, COCC will award some 650 degrees and certificates for the 2020-21 academic year.

Dalton Miller-Jones, Ph.D., a retired Portland State University (PSU) psychology professor, former member of the Oregon Board of Higher Education and a social justice advocate in Central Oregon, is the commencement speaker, whose remarks will be prerecorded and shared on COCC’s website beginning in early June.

Similarly, the student award announcements and student speakers will be prerecorded and posted online.

Miller-Jones, prior to his time at PSU, taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Williams College, the City University of New York’s graduate school and Cornell University, where he helped establish the school’s Africana Studies and Research Center.

Now a resident of Bend, he is actively involved with The Father’s Group of Bend, is co-chair of the Restorative Justice & Equity group and serves as a member of the Oregon Community Foundation’s leadership council.

Close to 100 faculty and staff members are expected to be in attendance at commencement in a socially distanced and masked manner.

The event will be livestreamed for families and friends unable to participate due to the one-vehicle-per-graduate limit.

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