2021 Graduation Ceremony

  • Carroll Community College

    Dr. James D. Ball


    Dr. James D. Ball

    Dear Class of 2021,

    Welcome to the 28th Commencement Ceremony of Carroll Community College. I couldn’t be more proud of our Carroll graduates who worked with steadfast determination to achieve degrees and certificates during the 2020-2021 academic year.

    While the world has certainly changed during your time here at Carroll, in ways no one ever anticipated, there are many aspects (More...) of this significant milestone that remain the same. It is the culmination of, and reward for, your dedication and perseverance regarding your studies throughout your time at Carroll. The encouragement of family, friends, fellow students, various mentors and advocates, and the faculty and staff here at the College, continued to spur you on to reach your goal, despite any obstacles in your way. I want to thank all of your supporters, and please be sure to thank them as well.  

    Now, for the moment that is my favorite duty of all that I perform as president, the conferring of your degree. Please, take a moment, stand, and hear this:

    By the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees and the State of Maryland, and as President of Carroll Community College, I confer upon you the Degrees of Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science, Associate of Science in Engineering, or Associate of Fine Arts, as applicable, with all the honors, responsibilities, rights, and privileges thereto appertaining. You may now move your tassel from the right side to the left side of your cap signifying the attainment of your degree.

    Where does the Class of 2021 go from here? My first answer is anywhere they want to go, with their passions, knowledge and wisdom leading the way.  

    But let me share some statistics as well. Based on recent surveys, many of our students balanced school, work and family obligations while attending Carroll, and will continue to do so. After graduation, 52% of you plan to work full time and 41% part time. 60% of our graduating students plan to continue their studies at various transfer institutions, including the top choices of Towson University, UMBC, Stevenson, and the University of Maryland at College Park. Whether you transfer to another institution or enter the workforce immediately, we are confident your time at Carroll has prepared you exceptionally well for what is next and will propel you to great accomplishments in your life’s journey.

    But statistics don’t fully capture where the Class of 2021 is going from here – you are entering a world that has changed, and will continue to change, at a very rapid pace. But always remember that the perseverance that propelled you to succeed here at Carroll will help you in your future endeavors. You embraced the changes virtual learning brought to many of your classes. You balanced studies with other demands of life, and you demonstrated your resilience during uncertainty. You are well prepared to face the future.

    Education provides preparation. And challenges bring opportunity. How do these forces come together? I am reminded of a quote attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca: “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity."  You have the opportunity to change the world as the College’s newest ambassadors to fulfill the mission of our institution: Empowering learners, Changing lives and Building community.

    Our graduates are vital to achieving this mission, one that helps to drive the well-being and economic vitality of Carroll County and beyond. Your efforts exemplify one of our core values: Leadership. At Carroll, we strive to challenge our students to become engaged citizens as well as leaders in their chosen careers. The College, its Board of Trustees, our local elected officials, and business leaders are grateful that you chose Carroll as your institution for higher education and for your future contributions to the community. A resounding 67% of you will join the workforce right here in Carroll County!

    I would like to thank our exceptional faculty and staff who provided excellent instruction, guidance and mentoring to empower graduates to make the changes they want to see in the world. I sincerely thank our Board of Trustees, the Carroll County Legislative Delegation and Board of Commissioners, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, and very importantly, our donors and the numerous business leaders who support our institution in so many ways. Each of these groups of individuals have contributed mightily to the success of our students in the way of funds, advocacy, scholarships, partnerships, internships, employment, and much more. I am so grateful to them for their dedication to our students and the College.

    Inscribed within the Seal of Carroll Community College are three ideals of an educated person: “Knowledge, Truth and Wisdom.” As you progress in our rapidly changing world, I am certain that you will use these three ideals to help transform the lives of others and build community from this day forward. Let them guide you to a brilliant future filled with hope. Please know how much you inspire me, and fill me with great optimism for that brilliant future

    I leave you with one final thought that I impart during every graduation. As you set off on the next leg of your journey always remember: The empowerment gained from asking the question “why” is only exceeded by the transformational power of asking the question “why not?”

    Once again, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to each and every one of you on this monumental achievement.  

    Dr. James D. Ball

    President, Carroll Community College

    Please listen to Dr. Ball's Conferring of the Degrees:

    View the 2021 Commencement Program (PDF)

    Carroll Community College

    Kelly M. Frager

    Board of Trustees, Chairperson

    Kelly M. Frager
    Hello 2021 graduates! I am so pleased to be speaking to you in my role as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at Carroll Community College. Your family, friends, and the entire College community are filled with pride – and joy – for what you have accomplished, while facing so many new challenges in our world, that only a few years ago none of us could have ever imagined. Please accept my heartfelt thanks, on behalf of the College’s Board of Trustees, for your perseverance and optimism on this amazing accomplishment.

    I also want to recognize everyone here at the College who worked tirelessly to provide high quality education in these rapidly changing times. The faculty and staff adapted quickly (More...) to introduce new online and hybrid courses as well as remote working, to teach and support our students in new, innovative ways. Thank you, Dr. Ball, for your leadership and support.

    I also want to thank those at the College who worked so quickly to introduce fully online instruction and remote working to teach and support our students. The faculty, staff and leadership team put in countless hours to provide high quality education and support to our students during these unprecedented times.

    In addition to my role here at the College, I have many others – mother, spouse, business owner, trainer, and coach. I can say with confidence that all of you have multiple roles in your life, ones that required you to skillfully manage them while you were pursuing your studies here at Carroll. You will hear today from one impressive graduate, Tiffany Rhoten, who is the student speaker for your class, about her personal journey at Carroll, and how the College played a significant role in enhancing her learning and effectiveness in her many roles.

    Please know each one of you is the hero of your journey during your time at Carroll, managing the different aspects of your life, that work together to make you very special.

    Congratulations to all our 2021 graduates and best wishes as you embark on the next chapter of your personal journey to be the change you want to see in the world.

    Carroll Community College

    Dr. Rosalie V. Mince


    Dr. Rosalie V. Mince
    Dear Graduating Class of 2021, It is my privilege and honor to write this letter to you on behalf of the faculty and staff of Carroll Community College. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate your achievements along with you. At Carroll, a lynx is our mascot. The name lynx originated from the root word “leuk”, which means light or brightness, in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes. A group of lynx is called a chain. You will always be part of our chain, (More...) always strongly connected to our bright community of learners.

    Please remember that as part of this chain, when you succeed, we all succeed. During your time at Carroll, we have travelled along on your educational journey with you—often leading you and showing you the way, sometimes alongside you, working with you to find the answers, and always right behind you, encouraging you and urging you forward. Even now, when you take a moment to revel in the happiness of achieving this important milestone, we are thinking about your next steps and how we can continue to support you as you transfer to a four-year institution, advance in your career, and contribute to the wonderful society of Carroll County and beyond.

    One of the College’s core values is Reflection, as we encourage students to reflect on their learning and personal experiences to build knowledge, distinguish truth and develop wisdom. I want you to know that no matter how far you go or how long it is from the time of your graduation, we will continue to hold you near in our hearts and minds, and we always appreciate hearing about your successes. Please take a moment from time to time to think back on your time at Carroll, and recall all that you learned, often despite major challenges, including the unparalleled changes brought on by the pandemic.

    Class of 2021, congratulations on your graduation! Savor your accomplishments. We know we are not saying good-bye but rather wishing you well on the next phase of your journey. Thank you for being part of our chain, now and into a brilliant future, one fueled by knowledge, truth and wisdom.

    With Lynx pride, wishing you all continued success,
    Dr. Rosalie Mince

    Carroll County Sheriff's Office

    Sheriff James T. DeWees

    A.A.S. in Law Enforcement Program

    Sheriff James T. DeWees
    As a result of the partnership between the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Police Academy and Carroll Community College, deputies and officers locally and from around the State pursue their A.A.S. degree in Law Enforcement as a Cohort while attending the Police Academy. Thanks to this innovative program, our graduates will be better prepared to handle and intelligently confront today’s challenges. The partnership between our two institutions will benefit the citizens of Carroll County by creating an exceptionally well-prepared workforce, using the abundance of resources the College has to offer.

    The phrase “education equals opportunity” rings true in every profession and trade (More...) that the College’s graduates pursue, and law enforcement is no exception. And it rings true for me personally. As a law enforcement leader who started my education at Carroll Community College, I experienced first-hand the significant benefits of this fine institution, through its professors, staff members and leadership team.

    In order to strengthen the bond and trust between law enforcement and the citizens we protect, we must continue to train and educate police officers to become even better stewards of justice. Congratulations to all 2021 Carroll Community College graduates, but especially the women and men of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office who chose to take on a challenge that few would be bold enough to accept.

    James T. DeWees, Sheriff
    Carroll County Maryland

    Carroll Community College

    Tiffany Frances Rhoten, Class of 2021

    Student Response

    Hello Class of 2021! Well, it looks like we made it, didn’t we? I’ve heard the saying through heck and high water, but for us, I believe it is more accurate to say that we had to go through COVID and quarantine to get to this moment- graduation. Ahh, do you feel it? That sense of freedom and accomplishment? If not, you will as soon as you feel the crisp paper of your diploma in your hands. Yet, before you get too carried away and shut school out of your minds for good, or at least for a few months anyway, there are a few things that I want to say to you before we go our separate ways.

    First, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” (A.A. Milne). This loveable quote from Winnie the Pooh is more than just a few memorable lines in a children’s story book. In fact, it’s you. (More...) You have survived so many challenges- many you probably never even imagined that you would face, like online classes and submitting all of your assignments virtually. And I can’t help but feel that you couldn’t have walked away from those challenge without being a little more sure of yourself, a little braver, and little bit more ready to take new risks. You also came out stronger. You learned how to advocate for yourself and how to protect others, such as through social distancing and wearing masks. More than that though, you are smarter now than you were when you first walked through Carroll’s doors. You didn’t take all of those classes for nothing right? I’m sure I speak for so many more than just myself when I say my teachers taught me more than I could have ever learned from simply reading the textbook, and we are all so very grateful for our teachers for that.

    The second thing that I want you to remember is that “Adventure is out there” (Pixar’s Movie Up). Here at Carroll we have had many opportunities to gain new experiences through clubs and Student Life events. As you move forward, beyond Carroll, you will continue to have these opportunities, and I urge you to take them. Try new things, take risks, and stretch yourself beyond your limits. I encourage you to say yes to as many opportunities that you can, that will come your way, as you never know where they might take you or who they might lead you to. I thank the Lord for the doors that have opened for me at Carroll and for the friends that I have made who have taken me to places that I never thought I would go. Yet, even with all of these adventures, I want you to remember “Hakuna Matata” (Walt Disney’s The Lion King) because sometimes the stress, or the constant busyness of our lives, can be a bit too much to handle. So, do something fun. It’s okay to give yourself a break every once in a while- a treat just for you, especially after working so hard to earn this degree you will receive from Carroll.

    Lastly, know that you are special and that “there’s no one else who can do the things you do” simply because they aren’t you. Carroll Community College has helped each and every one of us to receive the tools we need to succeed. Now it is up to me, and all of you, to decide how to use them to make a difference. Big or small, I know we can change the world simply because of the fact that we already have. So, never stop growing or learning Class of 2021, because the best is yet to come. Congratulations.

    Carroll Community College

    Hailey N. Gee, Class of 2021

    President’s Academic Excellence Award Winner

    Hailey N. Gee, Class of 2021

    The President’s Academic Excellence Award recognizes significant academic achievement, as well as dedication to service/co-curricular activities inside and/or outside of the College. The selected awardee will have demonstrated a well-rounded refection on the impact of their studies and their extracurricular activities during their time at Carroll. Candidates may apply for consideration based upon their academic standing as a student with a 4.0 grade point average and having completed at least 45 credits at Carroll. The awardee is given a $600 personal scholarship from Dr. James D. Ball, president of Carroll Community College.

    “It is a great honor to be nominated for an award of this magnitude. Carroll Community College has defined (More...) a large portion of my life these past two and a half years. I have not only achieved my goal of improving my knowledge in my career field, but I have made milestones along my journey and have explored new opportunities. I joined Carroll two and a half years after graduating high school, and even though I felt behind on my career journey compared to my other peers, I was determined to better myself through exploring a new career path and earning my Associates degree. I could not thank Carroll enough for opening the doors to the better life that it has presented me. My GPA reflects my love for graphic design, and it is such a large part of my life now, that I do not know what I would be doing if I had not realized my dream while attending this school.”

    Ms. Gee was also awarded Carroll Community College’s 2020 Holiday Greeting Card Contest Winner, and she represented the College as a member of the 2021 Best Design winning team at MAGIC’s annual Hackathon. It’s clear Hailey Gee has a very bright future ahead!

    Carroll Community College

    Adam J. Bowersox, Class of 2021

    President’s Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award

    Adam J. Bowersox, Class of 2021
    The President’s Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award is a new award that recognizes a student athlete who has demonstrated academic excellence as well as exceptional performance and team commitment in the College’s Athletics program. Scholar-athletes are committed to participating in team sports which require an ever-vigilant balance between maintaining an extremely difficult athletic schedules while performing at a high level academically. The awardee is given a $600 personal scholarship from Dr. James D. Ball, President of Carroll Community College.

    “I am truly honored to be selected for this prestigious award. Coming into Carroll Community College, I knew (More...) that I was asking a lot of myself when I became a part of The Hills Scholar Program, the inaugural Men’s Soccer team and working two jobs; however, I never let my goal of having a 4.0 GPA when graduating leave my sight. I have always been a hard worker when it comes to school, and I hold myself to a very high standard both on and off the field.”

    Mr. Bowersox also qualified for the President’s Academic Excellence Award by demonstrating a well-rounded balance between his studies, extracurricular activities, and athletic accomplishments. In addition to being an instrumental part of the Inaugural Men’s Soccer team, he achieved a 4.0 grade point average throughout his time at Carroll and completed at least 45 credits.

  • The 2021 drive-thru commencement event is scheduled for Friday, June 4th. Rain date is Sunday, June 6th.

    We are excited to announce that we will be hosting a 2021 drive through celebration and diploma pick up! Our drive through event will be on Friday, June 4th. Graduates will be able to drive through between 10 am and noon. Rain date will be Sunday, June 6th, time to be determined.  During this drive through celebration and diploma pick up, you will:

    • Receive a commencement program, a diploma cover, and a tassel
    • Hear your name and degree announced by Provost, Dr. Mince
    • Receive your diploma handed to you by College President, Dr. Ball
    • Have your picture taken by a professional photographer
    • Purchase optional 2021 commencement garb, which will be mailed directly to your home 

    Please plan to decorate your car, include your family in your car, or invite them to watch the live stream! We ask that graduates either be seated in the driver’s seat or in the back seat behind the driver. Graduates will be required to show a valid Carroll or state ID to receive their diploma. Enter the campus to drive through at any time between 10:00 am and noon.   

    To ensure the safety of the graduates as well as faculty and staff, the following measures will be put in place:

    • Graduates and their guests must remain in their vehicles at all times.  1 car permitted per graduate.  
    • Staff will remain at a distance unless handing you an item.
    • The event will be live streamed on www.carrollcc.edu/livestream, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Further directions will be emailed to you closer to the drive-thru event date.

    Congratulations to our May 2021 grads—we are excited to see you!