Posted: Monday, May 13, 2019
Media Contact: Dave Costello, 815-921-4516
Event Date: Friday, May 17, 2019
Rock Valley College will graduate 1,140 students this spring, and over 500 of them will participate in RVC’s 53rd annual commencement exercises on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. in the Physical Education Center (PEC).
Speakers at this year’s ceremony will include 2019 RVC Faculty of the Year award winner, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Brian Wagner, and student speaker Jillian Chamberlain.
Wagner was honored in April as the 31st recipient of the Rock Valley College Faculty of the Year award. Wagner has taught at RVC since 2010. He received his Associate of Arts in Foreign Languages from Vincennes University, and his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from Northern Illinois University. Classes he has taught at RVC most recently include Environmental Ethics, Introduction to Religion, World Religions, and Foundational Religious Texts.
His contributions to the department and the college go beyond classroom instruction. Wagner has been engaged in creating new curriculum for a number of philosophy courses, organizing a World Religions Field Trip each semester, and is actively involved as a guest lecturer on the RVC campus, at other colleges and universities, and in the community. He also serves on numerous college committees, as advisor for the Interfaith and Philosophy student organizations, and serves as the Grand Marshal for the college’s commencement ceremony.
Chamberlain was nominated by several people, including college faculty and staff, and community members for this special honor. She was selected after auditioning her speech before a panel of judges made up of RVC faculty and staff. Twelve students were nominated this year and 10 chose to audition their speech for the judges.
Chamberlain is the first in her family to graduate from college. Thanks to the Rock Valley College Running Start program, she is also graduating from college one day before she will graduate from Belvidere North High School.
At RVC, she served as Vice President of RVC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and played a crucial part in researching and implementing PTK’s “Honors in Action” project. Additionally, she served on the RVC Campus Activities Board, and could often be found supporting RVC events and causes on campus and in the community.
She remained committed to staying involved at her high school by participating in Student Council, Key Club, DECA International Career Development Program, Choir Board, Best Buddies, North Way Mentor Program, Student Council (including as District Liaison 2016-2018), Student Ambassador, Blue Tube, and Green Club. Jillian also participated in track and cheerleading at Belvidere North.
Academically, Jillian is an exemplary student. She achieved recognition on the President’s List in the fall 2017 semester and on the Dean’s List in the spring and fall 2018 semesters at RVC, was named an Illinois State Scholar, and has earned recognition from the National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, English Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, and International Thespian Society.
On top of all that, Jillian still finds time to give back to her community. She has volunteered for the Boone County Drug Prevention Coalition for four years, is active with her church youth group, including helping renovate the City First Church amphitheater, and attended an International Leadership Conference in the summer of 2018.
Last summer she also worked as an intern for State Representative Joe Sosnowski. She gained valuable experience making and responding to constituent calls, attending political and social events, assisting with coordinating events, writing essays and blogs on current topics, and comparing legislative documents.
Jillian will be attending the University of Kentucky this fall where she will major in Political Science. She aspires to attend law school, earn her Master’s in Public Administration, and forge a career as an attorney and eventually as a judge.
Media Advisory: Reporters/photographers/videographers covering the RVC commencement are advised that venue access will be restricted when the ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m. If you wish to interview students or college personnel, we request you arrive early. Interviews can also be conducted at the pre-graduation reception starting at 4 p.m. in the Student Center Atrium, or after the ceremony.
Video and still photographers will be allowed to take pictures from around the PEC prior to the ceremony. However, when commencement begins, all picture-taking will be restricted to a designated "photo area" and this policy will be strictly enforced.