Daily Herald Article
PALATINE, Ill. – Around 650 Harper College students took part in the 2016 Harper College commencement ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the college's new outdoor pavilion, and approximately 3,500 spectators attended the ceremony. About 20 Hawks student-athletes walked in graduation, and many others received their degrees as well from the college.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle delivered the commencement speech to graduates, and Harper College President Dr. Kenneth Ender introduced Preckwinkle.
|The Harper Hawk and new student trustee Eric DeBold pose for a picture at Harper College's commencement ceremony. (Nick Wenzel)|
Harper College Director of Athletics and Fitness Doug Spiwak was at the commencement to witness Hawks student-athletes walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.
"I tell our student-athletes to always "keep an eye on the prize." Our goal is to have every athlete leave Harper with a degree or certificate. Seeing the student-athletes receive their diplomas is one of the most reward aspects of my job," Spiwak said. "When they walk up to the stage wearing a silver stole that has the Harper Hawk logo along with the words "Student Athlete", I know that they have received an excellent education and the full support of the athletics program. These are the feature leaders of our community."
Harper College student-athlete Emily Butler, who played softball for two years (2015, 2016) for the Hawks, took part in commencement and received her Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. Butler, who will continue her education and softball career at Elmhurst College in the fall, applauded the new venue and reflected on her Harper experience.
"The ceremony was really beautiful and scenic. It was an amazing experience to be the first class to be able to be under the pavilion. The faculty and staff at Harper helped me get what I needed and got me on the right path," she said.
|Emily Butler and her family enjoyed graduation day at Harper College.|
New Harper College student trustee Eric DeBold, who was sworn into the position in April, was a firsthand witness to the reactions of graduates. DeBold was in the last seat on stage as graduates passed by upon receiving their diplomas.
"Everyone's time at Harper was summed up in their expressions in the very moment after getting their degree. It was the most authentic moment, and I got to see it happen for the entire graduating class," DeBold said.