Vol State celebrates Fall 2020 graduation virtually

Administrators recorded their speeches and then producers added hundreds of pictures and videos as the graduate names were read.

UPPER CUMBERLAND – Volunteer State Community College celebrated Fall Graduation 2020 with a virtual ceremony Saturday. More than 800 students were eligible to participate in commencement, including 312 TN Promise students and 228 TN Reconnect students. Those programs provide tuition-free education for eligible Tennessee students. The online ceremony featured short speeches from administrators and faculty members. As the names of the graduates were read, hundreds of pictures and short videos produced by the students were shown. They came from all four Vol State campuses: Gallatin, Springfield, Livingston and Cookeville.

Lillian Hickman was named Outstanding Graduate.

Lillian Hickman of Cross Plains was named Outstanding Graduate. She was involved in numerous activities at the college, including the Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. She also assisted with Music Department events and projects. Nominating faculty members cited her dedication to helping other students and service in the community, including volunteer work at the YMCA and the White House Hope Center. 

Graduate Nyalat Bidit celebrates with two of her children.

Graduate Nyalat Bidit was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States from South Sudan. The mother of four developed her language skills in the Vol State English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and is eligible to receive a degree in pre-nursing. “I knew English, but I didn’t speak it well. It was really hard. I appreciate all of the ESOL instructors. They lifted me up so I could learn how to write a paper and do college level work.”  

Patrick Collum of Gallatin earned a Computer Information Technology degree in Cyber Defense. He was recently hired to work for the Sumner County Board of Education. He had been an emergency medical technician for the last ten years. “Growing up my father was a police officer,” he said. “Today, most cybercrimes go unsolved. People are paying large ransoms and the perpetrators can be operating from the other side of the world. It seems like a challenge.” 

Evelyn Hill of the Class of 2000 spoke as the Distinguished Alumnus of the year. For pictures from Fall Graduation 2020 visit www.facebook.com/volstate

About Vol State 

Volunteer State Community College has more than 100 areas of study and offers two-year degrees, certificates and paths to university transfer. Workforce Development extends the college mission to the entire community. For more information, visit volstate.edu. The College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus, serving more than 100,000 students. 

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