Nearly 500 students will graduate this weekend after completing their degrees at East Central College, Union.

The college will holds its 47th commencement this Saturday, May 20, at 11:30 a.m. in the college’s Donald Shook Student Center gymnasium.

The ceremony will begin with a processional and a welcome. Then, after the national anthem is performed, ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer will speak.

The commencement speaker will be Zora Mulligan, Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education.

Graduates will then be awarded with degrees and other various awards from the college.

Bauer said commencement is the most rewarding day of the year and part of his job. He said witnessing the culmination of so much hard work is something he looks forward to every year.

“This is the most important day of the year, I don’t think you can be in higher education and not be excited for this day,” he said. “Many realize a dream that is not just theirs, but also their family’s dream.

“It’s hard to find anything that’s more rewarding than that,” he added. “This is why we’re here.”

Mulligan

Mulligan has been a participant in the development of Missouri’s plan for higher education and several other areas of higher education. She served as the chief of staff for the University of Missouri System from 2014 to 2016.

Mulligan was appointed Commissioner of Higher Education by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education in August 2016.

She also served as the director of the Missouri Community College Association (MCAA) from 2010-2014.

She secured $50 million in federal grants for job training programs, successfully lobbied for a special appropriation from the state General Assembly to provide community colleges with more equitable funding, and increased individual and organizational membership in the association.

“We are very excited to have Commissioner Mulligan at commencement this year,” said Bauer. “Zora knows the importance our college plays in moving our community forward. She is a highly respected leader in the Capitol and around the state.”

Bauer added that Mulligan will bring a valuable perspective to the students who are graduating and to the attendees of the ceremony.

“She really understands the work that we do on a very personal level,” Bauer said. “I’m thrilled, I can’t think of a more fitting speaker to share the day with our graduates and I look forward to having her here.”