Ozarks Technical Community College canceled its commencement ceremony scheduled for Aug. 19 at JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus. This was the make-up event for the previously scheduled May 16 graduation, which was postponed due to COVID-19.
“We spent the last three months planning, reimagining and doing everything in our power to create a safe event for our graduates and families to celebrate their incredible achievements,” said OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon. “But, after considering the growing rate of infection in southwest Missouri, we realized that the event, no matter how well planned, poses too much risk for our graduates, their guests and our employees.”
All 2020 OTC graduates are invited to attend the college’s 2021 commencement ceremony scheduled for May of next year. Additionally, this year’s graduates will be mailed their diploma covers along with other OTC keepsakes in a decorative box. Graduating students have already received their diplomas in the mail.
On Aug. 19 at 6 p.m., the college will release a video featuring graduation speakers, including NBA player and Springfield native Anthony Tolliver, along with student speaker Hunter Clouse, distinguished alumna Marge Cheesman, OTC Board of Trustees Chair John Gentry, Chancellor Higdon and Provost Tracy McGrady.
Approximately 400 students had picked up regalia for the graduation ceremony. Typically, an OTC commencement has 700-800 graduates in attendance and thousands of guests.