Parkland College Commencement Exercises, May 11
Parkland College 2023 Commencement Ceremony, May 11
Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs will deliver the keynote address during Parkland College's 2023 Commencement Exercises, Thursday, May 11, at 8 p.m. at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Frerichs has served as Illinois State Treasurer since he was first elected in 2014, and he is the 74th person to serve in this role. He was born and raised in the farming community of Gifford, Illinois. After graduating from Yale University, he spent two years in Taiwan, where he taught English to young students and learned to speak Chinese. He returned to Champaign County and launched his own technology business. He was elected to the Champaign County Board and elected as the county's auditor. He also served as a volunteer firefighter.
In 2006, Frerichs was elected to the Illinois State Senate, representing east central Illinois. He chaired the state senate's Higher Education Committee, championing efforts to make college more affordable. He was also chairman of the Agriculture and Conservation Committee and became a Certified Public Finance Officer.
Since taking the office of treasurer, Frerichs has made changes to the Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program, taking it from the worst to among the nation's best. Independent analyst Morningstar awarded Bright Start the Gold Rating five years in a row.
Under Frerichs' leadership, Illinois now leads a multistate alliance that allows parents of children with blindness or a disability to save for their children without jeopardizing their federal disability benefits. Today, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program, or ABLE, is the national standard, offering high-quality and low-cost investment options.
Frerichs is president of the bipartisan National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers. The College Savings Plans Network honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2022.
Parkland College's 56th Commencement will include a welcome from college administration and the Board of Trustees. The Parkland College Foundation will present the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Dr. Julia Hart, site director for the COUNTRY Financial DigitaLab located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Research Park. Sue Grey, president and CEO of the United Way of Champaign County, will be presented an Honorary Associate Degree. Grey has been a member of the United Way of Champaign County team since June 2006.
Student presenters will include honor student René Juárez-Cuevas, student trustee Lauren Mobo, and tassel turner Sarah Redman.
Juárez-Cuevas is a member of the Illinois Community College Board's Student Advisory Committee, and is the sole student member of the ICCB for the 2022-2023 academic year. On Parkland's campus, he serves as president of the Parkland Honors Program, vice president of Parkland Student Government Association, and co-president of both Parkland's Club Latino and the Cobra Investment Society. Mobo is a graduate of Centennial High School and is a member of Parkland Science Scholars. She is studying Biological Sciences at Parkland College. Redman, also a Parkland Science Scholar, studies Horticulture and is a student employee in Parkland's greenhouse. She plans to study Environmental Science and Management at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The ceremony will also feature music selections by the Parkland College Wind Ensemble and an invocation and benediction by Pastor Paul Thomason of Gibson City Bible Church.
This event will be in-person and livestreamed via YouTube and Facebook Live. Visit parkland.edu/commencement for more information.