#MCCGrads2019: Everything you need to know about commencement (it’s Thursday!)

Metropolitan Community College will hold commencement exercises for the Class of 2019 at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Municipal Auditorium, 301 W. 13th St. downtown. With family and friends on hand, attendance of about 5,000 is expected.

Chancellor Kimberly Beatty

Doors open at 5 p.m., when a student reception gets underway with refreshments, opportunities for professional photos and a chance to adjust mortarboards. No tickets are required. [ More details here, including parking info and guidelines for graduate attire ]

About 2,400 candidates for graduation are earning more than 2,800 associate degrees and certificates this year.

MCC Chancellor Dr. Kimberly Beatty will be the evening’s emcee. Isaac Clay, an MCC-Business & Technology student, will be this year’s student speaker. [ Read more about Isaac ]

New this year: Big-screen names, improved livestream

As in the past, the name of each participating student will be announced. (About 1,000 candidates for graduation are expected to “walk” at the ceremony.) But this year, grads’ names will also appear on the big screens in Municipal as students cross the stage.

Campus deans will read the names, campus presidents and vice presidents will distribute diploma covers, and Chancellor Beatty will shake hands with each grad at center stage. Each grad will also have three professional photos taken — approaching the stage, on stage with Dr. Beatty, and on the floor in front of the stage.

For family and friends who can’t be there, be sure to tell them about the commencement live broadcast. MCC has livestreamed the ceremony in the past, but this year’s livestream should look and sound better and can be viewed on the MCC website and on Facebook. That evening, go to mcckc.edu for links.

A scene from MCC’s 2018 commencement
The ceremony

The program will include the presentation of colors by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop A honor guard and a performance of the national anthem by the Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City, which is based at MCC-Blue River.

Dr. Sharon Blackman, interim vice chancellor for instruction, and Dr. Beatty will confer degrees. Campus presidents will present the graduates by campus, starting with the Business & Technology campus, then Longview, Penn Valley, Maple Woods and Blue River.

Students are asked to return to their seats after they’ve crossed the stage and to remain in the auditorium until the ceremony is over.

Degrees, certificates by the numbers

This year more than 1,400 students have earned the associate in arts (A.A.) degree, a popular option for those who plan to transfer to a four-year institution.

About 500 will be receiving an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree.

Students will also be earning associate in science (A.S.), associate in engineering (A.E.) and associate in computer science (A.C.S.) degrees.

More than 750 students will receive certificates, typically for career and technical programs that are completed in less than a year.

During the ceremony, graduates will stand and be recognized in groups by degree or certificate.

Several other groups will be honored as well, including those graduating with high honors (3.9-4.0 GPAs) and honors (3.5-3.8 GPAs); student veterans; members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges; members of the National Technical Honor Society; and graduates who have participated in the honors programs at MCC-Longview and MCC-Maple Woods.

Graduates of MCC’s various collegiate academy and early college programs will also be honored. These are high school students who take college classes on MCC campuses, often earning an associate degree at the same time they receive their high school diploma.

#MCCGrads2019 on social

We’ll share photos and video throughout Commencement Day on Twitter (@MCCKansasCity). Look for #MCCGrads2019, and please use that hashtag for your own commencement night photos on whichever social media platform you use.

More than a century of tradition

MCC has held a unified commencement ceremony for grads from all five campuses since 2012. Prior to that, the campuses held their own graduation programs. The student speaker program was introduced in 2018.

Metropolitan Community College was founded as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute in 1915. The first commencement program was June 6, 1916, when eight junior college students and 15 high school students graduated (the Institute included a high school program). Students with credit hours from other colleges had transferred to the Polytechnic Institute that first year, which accounts for why the two-year college held its first graduation in 1916 instead of 1917.