Academics

Fall Graduates Honored at Virtual Commencement

More than 1,000 Graduates Earn Degrees, Diplomas

RALEIGH, N.C. (December 12, 2020) – As 2020 comes to an end, more than 1,000 students are celebrating the special achievement of earning their associate degree or diploma from Wake Tech during a global pandemic.

The college commemorated the graduates with a pre-recorded commencement event released on Saturday, complete with graduate photos and video speeches instead of a typical in-person ceremony.

Graduates ranged in age from 17 to 66 and will receive degrees and diplomas in an array of areas including university transfer and technical programs such as health sciences, skilled trades, business and public services technologies, and information technology.

Many graduates earned degrees in nursing, medical laboratory technology, emergency medical science, and other healthcare fields  and will be starting careers as essential workers on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the virtual graduation, the college held a special curbside pinning ceremony on Friday for 72 graduates of Wake Tech’s Martha Mann Smith School of Nursing, who will be able to enter the workforce as early as December 14 – prior to taking their licensure exam – to help support healthcare workers currently working in the field.

The virtual graduation ceremony included a special live tassel-turning celebration on YouTube hosted by Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls and degree programs deans. Students, family, friends and anyone wanting to watch and share the memorable event can still access the link to view the ceremony at virtualgrad.waketech.edu.

Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls commended the graduates, many of whom successfully transitioned to online courses while their children were also learning from home, for their determination, perseverance, and resiliency.

“Many classes have come before you, but none have experienced a year like the Class of 2020,” Dr. Ralls said. In many ways, it has been a year of challenge for all of us. For many of you, the weight of being a college student during a challenging year also comes while working, parenting, caretaking and other life activities that most community college students face while attending college.”

“That is why your achievement that we celebrate today is particularly momentous, and why you and your family should take great pride in your accomplishment,” he added. “Your resiliency and commitment has brought you to this milestone today, and that experience will contribute to your success in the future. You are not only prepared to address the challenges and changes that will confront you in the future, but you are also uniquely poised to be a positive changemaker in our communities.”

While graduates didn’t get to walk across the stage in their caps and gowns, the virtual event featured some of the same elements of a traditional graduation – along with some new personal touches. Graduates submitted a photo of themselves in their graduation regalia with a personal message that will be displayed when their name is called.

Diplomas will be mailed to the graduates in February.

Spring semester starts on January 7. All degree and non-degree courses will be offered in a hybrid format. Students will be taking hybrid (blend of in-person and online instruction) or fully online. The college released its spring 2021 plan in October, called “Learn Well Spring 2021 Plan: Nudging Toward Normalcy. The plan includes comprehensive Safety Guidelines and Protocols to help keep students, employees, and campus visitors safe and healthy. Applications are still being accepted at https://www.waketech.edu/admissions.

Wake Tech is North Carolina’s largest community college, serving more than 70,000 students every year, and 1 in 10 Wake County adults.