Itawamba Community College President Dr. Jay Allen speaks during a pre-recorded commencement ceremony for the school’s graduates. The video was streamed live to Facebook on Thursday.

Itawamba Community College didn’t let a global pandemic stop it from honoring its 2020 graduates.

The school streamed a 26-minute prerecorded commencement video to its Facebook page last Thursday, May 14. The video featured montages of student activities from the school year, a message of encouragement from ICC President Dr. Jay Allen and words of encouragement from ICC graduates and a handful of celebrities.

The video ends with a 14 minute list of students who completed their associate degrees. The list scrolls up the screen while pomp and circumstance plays.

The full video can be found at http://bit.ly/icc_commencement.

During his opening remarks, Allen addressed the current crisis and the way it has upended traditions and presented new obstacles for the school and its students to overcome.

“Over the past 72 years, ICC and its students have faced many challenges,” Allen said during his opening remarks. “While the challenges continue, be assured that just as the sun rises and each day dawns, ICC will rise above the challenge.”

Allen said graduating students shouldn’t allow the lack of a traditional commencement ceremony to diminish their feeling of achievement.

“To our graduates watching from home, you were able to rise up and overcome to achieve your academic accomplishments, a significant step in your life’s journey. You are a trailblazer, a champion, and a scholar, ready to apply your acquired knowledge to enhance and advance our world.”

ICC’s president addressed the disappointment many of the school’s graduates likely felt by having their celebrations canceled suddenly.

“While this is not how we envisioned or hoped we would be recognizing you, via technology, rest assured knowing this is temporary and we are committed to gathering together again soon.”

ICC has postponed its spring ceremony until a time when the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control deem that it is safe to do so.

Celebrities featured during the video included Tim Dillard, pitcher for the Nashville Sounds, alumnus and Baltimore Raven Pernell McPhee, iCarly’s Jerry Trainor, country music singers Riley Green and RaeLynn, Fulton native Bryan Dozier of the San Diego Padres, former American Idol judge Randy Jackson and former AI winner and Amory native Trent Harmon, and Chris Harrison of the Bachelor/Bachelorette, who presented the final rose to ICC’s graduates.

In his remarks to graduates, Dillard wielded dry wit to deliver a message that was both humorous and inspiring. He talked about his time at ICC and how it impacted his life while hoping the graduates’ time at the school will do the same.

“I have a message for you, my ICC family … my family who I’ve never met,” Dillard said in addressing ICC’s graduates. “What a great accomplishment. I spent two years at ICC. It was a huge stepping stone in my life and my career, and I hope as you go through life, I hope you can look back at your time at ICC and say the same thing.”


Twitter: @admarmr

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