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Nearly 400 Students Graduate at 147th Commencement


Nearly 400 Students Graduate at 147th Commencement

Johnson State College Students Celebrate Achievement at May Ceremony

May 7, 2014

Johnson State College’s 147th Commencement on Saturday, May 17, 2014 featured nearly 400 graduates and keynote speaker Veronika Scott, 24, founder of The Empowerment Plan in Detroit and 2014 DVF People’s Voice award winner.

As a college student, Scott designed a self-heated, weather-resistant coat that transforms into a sleeping bag for the homeless. That idea led her to found The Empowerment Plan, which employs homeless mothers to produce the coats. She is the youngest recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award from the JFK Library Foundation and Harvard University.

In September 2013, Scott spoke as part of JSC’s 2013-14 Common Reading Initiative, which centered programs and discussions around Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff. At Commencement, Scott will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from JSC.

These 2014 JSC graduates spoke as well:

  • Joe Gittleman, founding member and bass player for the ska-punk band Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who will receive a bachelor of arts in professional studies from JSC, where he was a student in the External Degree Program. Gittleman has worked professionally as a songwriter, tour manager, talent scout, music-label representative and music producer; he wrote the Bosstones’ No. 1 hit, “The Impression That I Get.” An assistant professor in the Music & Performing Arts Department at Lyndon State College, he has played a key role in growing Lyndon State’s Music Business & Industry program over the past five years.

  • Christina Hill, who will receive a master of arts in special education. Having first arrived at Johnson State College in 2004 to pursue studies in art education, Hill knew then that teaching was her passion. Since that time, her teaching in Washington, D.C., and East Palo Alto, Calif., has expanded her concentration to include special education advocacy and administration. As such, she has spent the past year directing the “Think College” program at JSC, working to ensure that people of all abilities have the option to experience college.

Overall, 321 students will receive bachelor’s degrees; 65, master’s degrees; and seven, associate’s degrees.

The Commencement ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on JSC’s south lawn. Tickets are required for seating under the tent. Those without tickets may view the simulcast in Dibden Center for the Arts or online at

For more information, contact the Alumni Office, 802-635-1251.