SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College graduates will, quite literally, cross the finish line on Friday, December 18, as commencement ceremonies that were postponed in May are held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.
To accommodate the expected number of graduates, two drive-through ceremonies are scheduled, one at 9 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. The event will honor students completing one of the College’s transfer degree programs (Associate in Arts, Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts, Associate in Engineering or Associate in Science) and the Associate in General Education, as well as those eligible for specific program diplomas and certificates, and those who have completed high school equivalency or adult high school requirements. Students from the fall 2019, spring 2020, summer 2020 and fall 2020 semesters are invited to participate.
“While this year’s graduation celebration most assuredly looks different, we are excited about welcoming our graduates to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for an event that will create memories for a lifetime,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “COVID-19 may have changed our plans, but it does nothing to diminish the accomplishments of these graduates, and we want to give them a graduation experience to remember.”
Students will wear their caps, gowns and honorary regalia and may have family and friends join them in their cars as they drive through to receive their diplomas with COVID-19 protocols, including face masks, in place.
The ceremony will be projected on the Speedway’s jumbotron video board, which is 200 feet wide and 80 feet tall. Graduates and their guests will be able to tune their FM radio and hear the ceremony in their cars. While each graduate is limited to one car, family and friends may join in the celebration as the ceremonies are streamed live on staging.rccc.edu/grad2020.
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and Cabarrus County native Daniel Hemric will address graduates during commencement, speaking about the Daniel Hemric ‘Be the Change’ Scholarship which he established at Rowan-Cabarrus last year. The endowed scholarship will be awarded annually to a student qualifying for financial aid who has chosen to study in the fields of motorsports, welding or mechanical engineering.
“We are looking forward to this unique celebration, and I applaud the accomplishments of the graduates who will be with us on December 18,” Spalding said. “Graduating in 2020 may be a different experience, but their educational and career goals have remained the same, and I admire their dedication and resilience in completing the journey despite difficult circumstances. I wish each of them the very best for a bright and fulfilling future.”