JJC Commencement Ceremony Celebrates 683 Graduates

Joliet Junior College (JJC) celebrated 683 graduates during the College’s 108th annual commencement ceremony in the Event Center.  

This ceremony honored one of JJC's largest graduating classes in recent history and included an audience of almost 4,000.  

“Through this shared experience of college, you end this chapter with enduring memories, unique connections and experiences that have altered the trajectory of your lives,” said Dr. Clyne Namuo, JJC president.  

Dr. Jeff Bradford, technical education professor, and Ash Klinder, member of the class of 2024, addressed the audience as the faculty and student commencement speakers, respectively. 

Klinder is a first-generation college student who initially attended JJC to study business but briefly returned to the workforce. Eventually, Klinder returned to JJC with a renewed sense of purpose. In her address, she implored the audience to give themselves grace from their past and accept the opportunities presented to them.  

“Before I came back to JJC, I was a college dropout and fast-food employee, and for some reason I thought that I was destined to be mediocre at best. Wow did I underestimate what I could become,” she said.  

“In 2024, I have redefined myself. I am a success, an advocate for life, a friend to all, a lover of boundless creativity, and I am so much more than what I gave myself credit for. Say yes to exploring opportunities, because you can achieve your wildest, largest and most ambitious dreams if you just try it, and finally know you are capable and what you can give to the world will change it.”  

Klinder graduated with an associate in science and a specialization in biology. She plans to continue her education in sustainable development and conservation ecology at a four-year institution, aligning with her passion for preserving the environment for future generations.    

Bradford was named JJC’s full-time outstanding faculty member of the year and is retiring from his role as technical education professor after 27 years at JJC. Bradford used his time at the podium to remind graduates to ‘do the right thing’ as they go forward in life but acknowledged the many barriers this philosophy can encounter.  

“As you venture beyond these walls, remember that doing the right thing isn’t always easy. It may require courage, sacrifice, and uncomfortable conversations,” he said. “But it’s the only way forward — a path toward a more just, compassionate and inclusive world. Be the change you wish to see. Stand up against injustice, lift others up and champion empathy.” 

Bradford also used this moment to fully embrace the use of artificial intelligence, acknowledging that his speech had been written by prompting the chatbot tool Microsoft Copilot.  

“I believe AI is akin to the tools I used during my professional career as a maintenance mechanic before transitioning to faculty; and it aligns with the tools I’ve embraced during my 27 years of teaching here,” he said.  

Bob Morris, interim vice president for student development, also recognized Hailey Tannheimer as the student service recognition award winner for her involvement on campus and in the community.  

The recognition acknowledges the countless hours Tannheimer spent providing guidance and support during coaching and teaching sessions to Special Olympic athletes and elementary students in addition to her active membership in the JJC Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa. Tannheimer graduated with her associate of arts in elementary education and has received a full tuition honors program scholarship to attend Elmhurst University in the fall. 

Ceremony Photos  

View photos and video clips from the 2024 commencement ceremony on Flickr. Search the hashtag #JJCWolvesGrad for additional content on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.  

Ceremony Recording 

Want to relive the moment again and again? View a recording of the ceremony from start to finish. 


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