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JCC to hold Fall Commencement on December 15, 2017

Jefferson Community College (JCC) will hold its Fall Commencement Ceremony for December candidates for graduation on Friday, December 15, 2017. The ceremony will take place in the Robert R. and Jean S. Sturtz Theater beginning at 6:00 p.m. and will be video-streamed on Jefferson’s website. Approximately 193 students will be eligible to graduate from Jefferson in December upon successful completion of degree requirements and fourteen candidates for graduation from Jefferson Higher Education Center Partner SUNY Potsdam.

The College is privileged that distinguished professor, John F. Penrose (above), will give the keynote address at the commencement exercises. Penrose joined the faculty of Jefferson in 1979. During his 38-year tenure, John remains passionate and energetic about the College and student success. His passion for teaching and his leadership across campus has made him invaluable to Jefferson.

Penrose has served as advisor to Student Government and as interim director of athletics and sports information director. For 10 years, Penrose coached the Lady Cannoneers basketball team, followed by two years as assistant coach of the men’s basketball team. Outside of Jefferson, Penrose serves as a writer and reviewer of questions for the Praxis series of teacher certification tests for Educational Testing Services and he serves as a member of the Praxis Science Committee. He has represented the College on numerous SUNY-wide initiatives including the SUNY Group of 200 that developed the Power of SUNY Strategic Plan, Student Completion and Success Task Force, Academic Excellence Committee, and the Transfer Pathways for Chemistry workgroup.

In 2017, Penrose was one of two faculty members from two-year colleges in New York State to receive the SUNY Distinguished Service Professorship, the highest faculty rank established by the SUNY Board of Trustees to honor and recognize a faculty member for their extraordinary service at the community, regional and State levels. Penrose was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2014 and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1995. Additionally, as a distinguished faculty in active service within SUNY, Penrose was inducted into the SUNY Distinguished Academy, established in March 2012. Penrose holds a bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne College and a master’s degree from Fresno State University.

The student speaker is Tyrek S. Taper-Smith, Watertown, current student government president. Taper-Smith is majoring in humanities and social sciences with a concentration in psychology. Taper-Smith plays an active role in planning and executing events on campus including Fall Festival, Constitution Day, Halloween Party, student diversity forums, and more. He serves as the student member of the College Diversity Workgroup and participated on a four-member panel at the screening of the documentary “13th”. He attended the SUNY Student Assembly Conference as a voting member of the Jefferson student body, welcomed students on move-in day at JCC and throughout Welcome Week. He anticipates graduating in May 2018 with an associate in arts degree from Jefferson and transferring to SUNY Oswego in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. His career goal is to become a psychologist and work with adolescents.

Tickets are required for admission to the Sturtz Theater and each student who is participating in the ceremony has received up to three tickets for guest seating in the theater. The ceremony will be simulcast in the Jules Center Amphitheater, Room 6-002, and tickets are not required for entrance to the amphitheater. The commencement exercises will be video-streamed through the College’s website,, beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Parking is available in Lot D and guests may enter the Jules Center under the canopy and proceed up the stairs to the Sturtz Theater. Guests desiring elevator access may also disembark at this entrance and assistance will be provided. Sturtz Theater doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

A reception for graduates and guests will be held in the Jules Center Commons immediately following the ceremony. Graduates and guests are encouraged to take advantage of the photo room in the Walker Instructional Dining Room, McVean Center. Additional commencement information for students and guests is available online and by calling 315-786-2392.