The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College 2021 Virtual Commencement, May 13

Parkland College to hold Virtual Commencement on Thursday, May 13 at 7 pm

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Mazdack Rassi, co-founder and creative director of Milk Studios and co-founder of Milk Makeup, will deliver the keynote address during Parkland College's 2021 Virtual Commencement Exercises, Thursday, May 13, at 7 p.m. via YouTube. The public is invited to visit Parkland's commencement page for a link to attend the ceremony. 

In his time as co-founder of Milk, Rassi has built the bi-coastal business into a culturally conscious company with creative expression at the helm. Rassi's leadership has transformed Milk from a services company into the home of emerging artists in New York and Los Angeles alike.

With an understanding of the fashion, music, photography, media, and film industries, Rassi drives all business operations for Milk and has become a creative partner to global visionaries, designers, and brands throughout the last two decades. He has steered the company through years of productions, gallery openings, Fashion Weeks, events, and cultural happenings. In 2016, he worked with his team to launch a consumer product made for Milk's community: Milk Makeup.

In addition to managing Milk, Rassi is an active board member of Burton, Autism Tomorrow, Parsons School of Design, and The New York City Ballet.

Parkland College's 54th Commencement will include a welcome from college President Thomas Ramage and Board of Trustees Chair Bianca Green. Retired professor John Moore will deliver the faculty address while Nancy Sutton, vice president for academic services, will present student awards, segments which typically occur during Parkland's annual Honors Convocation.

Student presenters for the virtual ceremony will be speaker Anthony Fisher and tassel turner Daniel K. Sheff. Fisher, a native of Jamaica, is a photojournalist at WCIA 3 News and a freelance videographer. He is the founder of A1 VIDEOPRODUCTION and will be receiving his Associate in Applied Science in Media Arts and Production from Parkland.

Sheff, a lifelong resident of Illinois, is pursuing a degree in social work after two decades in the retail and restaurant industries. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and plans to transfer to the University of Illinois School of Social Work to pursue advanced degrees.

The ceremony will also feature music selections by the Parkland College Wind Ensemble and an invocation and benediction by the Rev. Heidi M. Weatherford of McKinley Church in Champaign.

Parkland College Candidates for Commencement 2021

Parkland announces candidates for 2021 Commencement

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Parkland College announces the candidates for the college's 54th Commencement Exercises. View the full list of candidates here; students are listed by hometown.

Due to the pandemic, this year's graduation ​ceremony will be held virtually on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 7 p.m. via YouTube. ​Details regarding the virtual commencement, including the link to access it, will be announced in an upcoming release.

Parkland College Board Swears in New Trustees

Board of Trustees General Meeting, April 28

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Parkland College's Board of Trustees has accepted the results of the April 6 municipal elections, swearing in four trustees.

During their regular meeting Wednesday, trustees administered the oath of office to Timothy Johnson, Maureen Banks, Jarrett Clem, and Jim Voyles. Voyles was appointed during a special meeting Tuesday night following Trustee Jonathan Westfield's resignation from the board in March. Voyles will serve until the next election in April 2023.

Banks and Clem will serve for six years. The board also completed its annual election of officers: Trustee Bianca Green was elected Chairman, Trustee Jim Voyles was elected Vice-Chairman, and Trustee Jim Ayers was elected Secretary.

After the swearing-in ceremony, President Tom Ramage gave his report to the board. Special acknowledgement went to the success of the Parkland athletic teams this month. In short succession, the golf team won its fourth consecutive Mid-West Athletic Conference championship; women's basketball placed third overall in the DII NJCAA National Tournament; and the volleyball team took NJCAA DII Runner-up honors for the season with an impressive 33-2 record.

Trustees also appointed Mason Madigan as the new full-time Parkland College Peace Officer. Madigan was hired earlier this month following nearly a year of service with the Champaign Police Department. Originally from Lincoln, Illinois, he graduated from SIUE and completed his basic police training at the U of I Police Training Institute in 2020. He will complete his field training at Parkland within the next couple of months.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the purchase of: 

    • simulation equipment and software from Intelligent Video Solutions, $25,903

    • five-year lease and upgrade to Xerox machines, $330,000

    • bid from Diamond Design & Construction for renovation of exterior siding and systems, $307,880

    • bid from Getinge Sales USA for steam sterilizer and reverse osmosis filtration system, $50,974

  • the filing of the following grant applications: 

    • Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA): General Operating Support (GOS) Grant

    • Illinois State Library/Secretary of State: Adult Volunteer Literacy Grant (Project READ)

    • Illinois State Library/Secretary of State: Penny Severns Family Literacy Program

    • Illinois Community College Faculty Association: Dr. Joseph T. Cipfl Faculty Research Grant

  • the acceptance of funds from external sources: 

    • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program--Education and Workforce Development Program

    • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS): Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship

  • personnel appointments: 

    • Alexis Grady-Coburn, TRiO/SWFT

    • Nathan Knipfer, Campus Technologies

    • Virginia McMath, TRiO

    • Paula Prather, Admissions

    • Anna Runck, Admissions

    • Peyton Abernathy, Public Safety

    • Mason Madigan, Public Safety

Parkland College Art Students Awarded in NIU Art Exhibition

Parkland students chosen for NIU Community College Art Exhibition

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Several Parkland College Art and Design students were accepted into the 2021 NIU Community College Student Juried Virtual Exhibition.

The works are on display in a virtual gallery hosted by Northern Illinois University from April 2–May 7. Participating Parkland students are:

  • Jane Liao, Champaign

  • Alexa Harmon, Champaign

  • Kathryn Lahr, Urbana

  • Lauren Babcock, Urbana

  • Jori Basset, Bradley

  • Katy Geurts, Loda

  • Grant Siegmund, St. Joseph

Six students received awards at the virtual awards ceremony and reception held on April 17. Two placed and five earned honorable mentions:

  • Alexa Harmon, 1st place and Honorable Mention in Ceramics

  • Lauren Babcock, 2nd place and Honorable Mention in Ceramics

  • Jori Basset, Honorable Mention in Digital Art

  • Katy Geurts, Honorable Mention in Ceramics

  • Grant Siegmund, Honorable Mention in Ceramics

This annual juried exhibiton celebrates the creative work of young artists in community colleges within Illinois. Only artwork completed after January 1, 2019 was eligible.

[image from left, top row: Basset, Harmon; bottom row: Babcock, Geurts, Siegmund]

Parkland Board Selects James Voyles as Trustee in Special Meeting

Board of Trustees appoints James Voyles as new Trustee in special meeting

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The Parkland College Board of Trustees has appointed Mr. James Voyles to fill a vacant seat on the board.

In a special meeting held Tuesday, Voyles was chosen to replace former trustee Jonathan Westfield, who stepped down in March of 2021. Voyles will serve as trustee until the next election in April 2025.

Voyles was elected to the Parkland Board of Trustees in April 2015 and currently serves as Vice Chair. Before retiring and joining Parkland as Trustee, Voyles was the superintendent of Tuscola CUSD #301 for 15 years.

Voyles will be sworn in at the Board's regular meeting on Wednesday, April 28.

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