More than 450 people will graduate at the 48th annual Kankakee Community College commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13 in the George H. Ryan Gymnasium in the college's Activities Building.
A number of students, faculty and alumni accomplishments will be recognized. Tim Wilhelm, retiring professor in KCC’s Business/Technology Division, will be the speaker.
Wilhelm, the commencement speaker, has worked for KCC since 1997. Under his guidance, KCC has been recognized for its top renewable energy programs a number of times. In 2013, Wilhelm was named Interstate Renewable Energy Council Clean Energy Trainer of the Year. Then in 2014, KCC received the national award as Accredited Clean Energy Training Provider of the Year, a first for a community college. The Illinois Green Economy Network honored Wilhelm with its Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.
The ceremony will last about 90 minutes. Wristbands given to graduates will be required for admission to the gymnasium. Seating will be available for guests without wristbands in nearby rooms where there will be a live videocast.
The ceremony will stream live on the KCC website, www.kcc.edu. Social media users can use #KCCgrad2017 to congratulate graduates.
Two students will be honored as members of the All-Illinois Academic Team, a special recognition based on outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community. They are Kelsey Billington of Bourbonnais, who will receive an Associate in Arts transfer degree; and Jacob Kaericher of Ashkum, who will receive an Associate in Engineering Science transfer degree.
John Bordeau, professor in the Business/Technology Division, and Mary Peerbolte, adjunct professor in the Math, Science and Engineering Division, will receive the KCC Outstanding Faculty Member Awards for 2017.
Dr. Don Rehmer, a geologist for U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the Gulf of Mexico region, will be honored as the college’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner. He graduated from KCC in 1994.
“The foundation of all my experiences and tremendous opportunities was laid at Kankakee Community College,” Rehmer said. “The lessons that I learned from Model Illinois Government (Club) and Phi Theta Kappa and in the classroom while at KCC enabled me to serve the Lafayette Geologic Society and later as the mayor of Alto Pass, Illinois during my doctoral studies. More than 20 years since graduating from KCC, it may not be so easy for someone to recognize all the connections. It is easy for me to see the important, far-reaching and long-lasting impact of the education that I received at my community college.”