SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will once again honor graduates with a drive-through commencement ceremony at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 12.
The Class of 2022 will, quite literally, cross the finish line on the Speedway’s track beginning at 9 a.m.
“We continue to make it our priority to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible while celebrating the remarkable achievements of our graduates,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We are pleased that we have been able to welcome students back to our campuses in person and relax our COVID protocols, but when we signed the contract with the graduation venue, the COVID positivity rate was nearly 40%. We know that graduation is a large event, and we want to keep everyone safe since our counties are still reporting cases.”
Over 1,000 students who are eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony earned associate degrees, diplomas and certificates during the Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Summer 2022 academic terms, with well over 400 graduates expected to participate in the drive-through ceremony.
The event will honor students completing one of the College’s transfer degree programs (Associate in Arts, Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts, Associate in Engineering or Associate in Science) and the Associate in General Education, as well as those eligible for specific program diplomas and certificates, and those who have completed high school equivalency or adult high school requirements.
The graduates range in age from 16 to 63 (average age is 26), with 70% female and 30% male. Thirty-two percent of the graduates live in Rowan County, with 47 percent from Cabarrus County and 21 percent in other counties.
Students will wear their caps, gowns and honorary regalia and may have family and friends join them in their cars as they drive through to receive their diplomas. The ceremony will be projected on the Speedway’s Jumbotron video screen, which is 200 feet wide and 80 feet tall. Graduates and their guests will be able to tune their FM radio and hear the ceremony in their cars. While each graduate is limited to one car, family and friends may join in the celebration as the ceremony is streamed live at www.rccc.edu/grad2022.
Jasmine Rosenberry, president of the Rowan-Cabarrus Student Government Association and recipient of the statewide Daryl Mitchell Award for Outstanding Students from the North Carolina Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association, will serve as student speaker. A first-generation college student pursuing an Associate in Arts degree, she has been a Rowan-Cabarrus Student Excellence Award finalist, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and participated in the College’s TRIO and Work-Based Learning programs.
“Throughout the pandemic, the Class of 2022 remained dedicated to their educational and career goals without wavering,” Spalding said. “I look forward to handing them their diplomas at the finish line, and I wish them the greatest success as they continue to navigate forward.”