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Heartland Community College Commencement set for May 14

April 30, 2021

Heartland Community College’s annual commencement will be held with an online ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on May 14, 2021 with a socially distanced diploma event earlier in the day. 

The full ceremony, with graduate recognitions and remarks from Heartland President Keith Cornille, Board of Trustees member Rebecca Ropp and Student Speaker, Elizabeth Stein will stream live via the Heartland Facebook and YouTube pages. 

The College will also hold a diploma event on the Rob Widmer Quad on the main campus in Normal. At 2:00 pm on Friday, May 14th, students who have previously signed up on their graduation application will participate in a walk-through, receive their diploma on a stage, and have photos taken. Students will be allowed to have up to four friends/family members present during the diploma event. 

Elizabeth Stein selected as student speaker 

Heartland’s commencement will include student speaker Elizabeth Stein. Elizabeth is a non-traditional student who took a ten year hiatus between attempts at college. During her time at Heartland, she was a member of Project RISE and became a Peer Mentor with the program, as well as served as the Community Outreach Director on the Heartland Activities Committee and represented the group in the SGA. She is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. 

After graduation, Elizabeth will transfer to Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall, double majoring in English and Secondary Education. Her professional goal is to teach English in Japan, and eventually come back to the states to teach creative writing.  

Justin Rickard selected as 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient 

During the full ceremony on May 14, HCC alum Justin Rickard will be recognized as the College’s 20219 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. 

The annual award recognizes individual career achievements and positive community impact while exhibiting Heartland values. Dr. Justin Rickard is an Associate Professor of Animal Science with a teaching and research appointment At Illinois State University. His research program focuses on improving the livestock production and food animal industries.

 Rickard’s academic career started at Heartland Community College in 2000, which prepared him to transfer to the Department of Agriculture at Illinois State University. There he earned a B.S. degree in Animal Industry Management and M.S. degree in Agriculture Sciences. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned a Ph.D. in Animal Science.

Written by: Steve Fast