AVON PARK —South Florida State College will be graduating its first class of baccalaureate students at its May 6 commencement exercises.
Also, the upcoming ceremony will be the final annual commencement with the college moving to a twice-a- year event - December and May - to accommodate more attendees.
At Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting, college president Thomas Leitzel noted it will be his first commencement since coming to the college.
“I am just looking forward to our first commencement together,” he said. “We are really excited about our first bachelor degree students who will be graduating and they are excited also.”
Fourteen students will receive their bachelor of applied science degree in supervision and management.
The lineup of graduates has been changed for this year, Leitzel noted.
“We want to build to a crescendo, and we will start with our high school graduates, move through other degrees, and end with our bachelor degree students,” he said.
Due to space limitations in the Theatre for the Performing Arts, this will be the first year that tickets will be required for family members who want to attend the commencement exercises.
“We think it is going to be a packed auditorium,” Leitzel said. “We are planning for overflow space right now.”
This will be the final annual graduation, he said.
In December the college will start holding its second graduation of the academic year and continue with two graduations a year because of space accommodations.
Students auditioned to be the student speaker at commencement, he said.
“I am so proud of Anthony Evans who won the student speaker event this year,” Leitzel said. “Anthony is a physics major carrying right now a 4.0 [grade point] average.”
Leitzel noted something different for the upcoming commencement.
Cultural Programs Dean Doug Andrews arranged for a brass quintet to play during the processional and recessional. Previously, prerecorded music was used for these portions of the proceedings.
Leitzel informed the board that faculty and administration recommended awarding an honorary associate’s degree to Lauren Phillips, the freshman and softball player who died March 25 in an auto accident near Plant City.
The board of trustees voted unanimously to award the honorary degree.
After the meeting, Leitzel said it, “is a symbol of our show of outpouring for her and her family.”
Vice President of Administrative Services Glenn Little said she was an excellent student.
Leitzel said Phillips was “clearly a team leader and her teammates recognized that.”