Ithaca College Celebrates December Graduates Virtually

By Danica Fisher ’05, December 14, 2020
Students celebrated with the help of their faculty and classmates.

Ann-Marie Adams

Ann-Marie Adams, instructor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies.

Ann-Marie Adams, an instructor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, told attendees of Ithaca College’s December Graduation Celebration, held on Dec. 13, that designing, delivering and receiving messages is our greatest asset as humans. 

“You came to Ithaca College with your values, interests and abilities, and through the individuals you met here and our curriculum, your vocabulary grew, your world view may have shifted, you discovered new things, you connected with people unlike you and your skill sets increased,” said Adams. “And your progress was made evident by your expression of this transformation, inside and outside this place.” 

President Collado

President Shirley M. Collado speaking at the virtual celebration.

About 130 graduates, faculty, staff and trustees participated in the December Graduation Ceremony via Zoom, while there was close to 900 views by friends and family members through YouTube. President Collado honored all 260 December graduates and called out the students’ tenacity.

“Graduating off cycle, as all of you are, we have to stress that it takes immense courage and incredible drive, particularly during the year that has brought so many challenges in our lives,” said Collado. “We’ve all been inspired by the resilience, creativity and self-reliance that your class has demonstrated.” 

Ali Kelley ’21, president of the senior class, reminded graduates what it was like when they first arrived at Ithaca College and reminisced about the memories they have built over the years.  

“I think we can all agree that the thing that makes Ithaca special is the people,” said Kelley. “The professors, our peers and everyone in between helped to create the college experience we know and love, and we have Ithaca to thank for bringing us together. While we may have traveled through our Ithaca journeys separately, we all found people who will be in our lives forever.” 

Ali Kelley

Ali Kelley ’21 president of the senior class.

Kelley was also among a group of students who helped organize and put on the virtual December Graduation Celebration. Both Kelley and Tyler Bilodeau ’21 participated through the  Applied Event Management course. They took part in planning committee meetings to represent the student perspective, and helped figure out the program and bring a sense of community to the event. 

“It’s been a really enjoyable experience,” said Bilodeau. “I think it’s made it more worthwhile to plan something that we know will actually happen. I like that we’re not planning a hypothetical event.” 

“Tyler and I decided to do this project together because we really wanted to serve our community,” said Kelley. “I loved that we were able to work with the school. That is an experience I wish everybody could have.” 

Dave Prunty, executive director of auxiliary services and co-chair of the Commencement Committee, teaches the Applied Event Management course. Prunty said they learned a lot from the virtual graduation ceremonies in August, where faculty and staff helped to put on the event

“I think students being able to participate in this type of production shows them that they can create content, no matter what. Their industry is ever-changing and that’s why they’re in school, to learn how to change with those changes.” 

Chrissy Guest, associate professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies

“We were able to take a model that works and then try to give students the opportunity to do it,” said Prunty. “It’s important for students to have hands-on experience as much as possible. In this case it’s virtual hands-on experience, but it’s still experience.” 

Chrissy Guest and Peter Johanns, associate professors in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies, co-directed the December Graduation Celebration. Guest had some students from her Live Event Production and TV Production and Direction courses help out with the virtual celebration, each participating virtually themselves. 

“I think students being able to participate in this type of production shows them that they can create content, no matter what,” said Guest. “Their industry is ever-changing and that’s why they’re in school, to learn how to change with those changes.” 

Dylan Känner

Dylan Kanner '21 working remotely on the virtual celebration.

Guest said her students performed many functions during the celebration, including running the TriCaster system, which is used to switch to the different video and audio signals; operating the live event studio software, which allows them to show real-time social media comments and bring in the names for the people on screen; and serving as “pinners” that help bring the students to the screen for their celebratory moment. 

Dylan Kanner ’21 was one of the pinners during the ceremony, and was happy to help students remember their graduation. 

“It’s giving back and showing my support to my peers and my classmates,” said Kanner. 

Rachel Prieve

Rachel Prieve working the TriCaster remotely during the December graduation celebration.

Rachel Priebe ’22 operated the TriCaster during the celebration, and she said that working on a live event remotely is exciting. 

“Pulling off something while working with so many people and being remote is just a good feeling,” said Priebe. “It’s the closest that I’ve gotten to being back in the actual studio and just being on a team is what I like.” 

Each of the students who were honored during the celebration were brought to the screen for their celebratory moment. 

“Know that every day is new, each experience is rich, and no matter the hours you live in, there’s a tomorrow that will deliver more,” said Adams.  

Watch the video from our December Graduation Celebration held December 13, 2020.