Heartland Community College's 22nd Annual Commencement will take place May 17, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will be held at the Fitness and Recreation Center at the College's Normal Campus, 1500 West Raab Road. A nursing pinning ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Astroth Community Education Center. Approximately 128 Heartland graduates are expected to participate in this year’s commencement ceremony.
Veteran Broadcaster-PR Professional is HCC's 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient
HCC Alum Jay Verner, a public relations professional for COUNTRY Financial and a former broadcast journalist, is the College's 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient. Verner will deliver the address at this Saturday's commencement ceremony, sharing his personal achievements and demonstrating how Heartland Community College positioned him for a rewarding career and success in his philanthropic activities. Verner is the sixth recipient of the annual award, which recognizes individual career achievements and positive community impact while exhibiting Heartland values.
"I feel extremely honored to receive this award,” Verner said. “I also feel very lucky to be part of a community that understands the value of a strong educational resource like HCC. I owe so much to Heartland for giving me the tools to be a contributing member in the community I love."
Verner earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1997. A former news anchor and reporter for WJBC Radio and WMBD-TV, Verner currently serves as the Public Affairs and Media Relations Manager for COUNTRY Financial where he assists the company’s administration with their philanthropic initiatives.
Giving back in his professional and personal life is important to Verner. “Not only has Jay used his knowledge and experiences gained at Heartland to better himself, he’s used that to give back to groups he’s passionate about,” said COUNTRY Financial Interactive and Social Media Analyst, Katie Eades, who nominated Verner for the award.
Verner is passionate about raising money and awareness for Children’s Hospital of Illinois, where both of his children were patients. Additionally, he has been involved with the expansion efforts of the Community Cancer Center, volunteering his time to honor his grandparents who were affected by cancer.
Sarah Cope Selected as Student Speaker
Saturday’s commencement will also include student speaker, Sarah Cope, winner of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s annual Paul Simon Essay Contest. Cope is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and is involved in Heartland’s Honors Program. She will speak about the impact Heartland has had on her life.
A reception will follow the commencement ceremony.