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May 13, 2024

Johnson County Community College will award 2,293 associate degrees and 1,492 certificates.

Johnson County Community College will recognize the 3,144 graduates from the 2023-2024 academic year with Commencement ceremonies on May 17, 2024. This marks the College’s 54th Commencement.

This year’s graduating class is 10% larger than the 2022-2023 class. Enrollment at JCCC also increased by 4.9% during the 2023-2024 academic year, despite a steady nationwide decline in college enrollment over the past decade.

JCCC continues to transform lives and strengthen communities by providing high-quality education at an affordable rate, starting at just $101 per credit hour for Johnson County residents enrolling in Fall 2024. In the 2023-24 academic year, over $3.3 million was provided to students in JCCC institutional scholarships.

In the 2023 academic year, 80% of JCCC students who completed degrees or certificates graduated with no student loan debt. A 2024 Education Data Initiative report shows the average individual with federal student loan debt owes $37,000 (not including private student loan debt). Students who take out loans report delaying at least one major life event because of their student loan payments. A Gallup poll from last month found that 71% of student loan borrowers say they have delayed things like buying a home or a car, moving out of their parents’ home, starting a business, or having children. While 2024 data is not yet available, JCCC anticipates the majority of graduates will start their next chapter without the stress of student loan debt.

Since 1969, JCCC has offered quality education and workforce training to meet the economic and lifelong learning needs of the Johnson County community and beyond. “We are proud our graduates chose JCCC for their educational journey and are excited to celebrate their achievements at Commencement,” said Dr. Judy Korb, Interim President of JCCC. “The certificates and degrees they earned at JCCC have prepared them well to begin the next journey with confidence. Each and every one of them has a lot to be proud of.”

Facts About JCCC’s 2023-2024 Graduates

  • 3,144 graduates earned a cumulative 3,785 degrees and certificates
  • 78 are veteran and military-connected students
  • 915 JCCC-educated healthcare professionals are entering the workforce
  • 47 JCCC-educated law enforcement officers and 47 JCCC-trained firefighters are entering the workforce
  • Graduates represent 19 states
  • 152 are immigrant or international students

Commencement Details

JCCC holds two Commencement ceremonies.

  • Candidates for certificates and Associate of Applied Science degrees will be recognized at 4 p.m.
  • Candidates for Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Fine Arts and Associate of General Studies degrees will be recognized at 7:30 p.m.
  • Both ceremonies will be held in the GYM building on JCCC’s main campus
  • The ceremonies will also be livestreamed on JCCC's cable channel and
  • Plan for each ceremony to last approximately an hour and a half

Ceremonies recognizing graduates from specialized programs will be held throughout May; details regarding these special events are available on the JCCC Commencement web page and below.

Commencement Speakers

Both JCCC Commencement ceremonies will include comments from two speakers.

  • Graduate Liz Hernandez will be the student speaker. Liz's JCCC journey began in the Fall of 2021, and she graduates this spring with an associate of arts degree in liberal arts. As an international student from Honduras, her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the pursuit of education. Liz has distinguished herself through several leadership roles at JCCC, including serving as a Student Life Ambassador and parliamentarian in the Student Senate, for which she also chaired the Rules & Conduct Committee. In the fall, she will continue her education at Park University, majoring in business analytics.
  • Chair of JCCC’s Board of Trustees Melody Rayl will deliver this year’s Commencement address. She served as a trustee from 2008 to 2013 and was re-elected to the Board in 2022. Rayl has worn many hats over the years—military veteran, law enforcement officer, community volunteer, international peacekeeper in postwar Bosnia, Police Academy instructor, associate professor of criminal justice, practicing attorney, and mother to three children. After earning an associate degree in administration of justice at JCCC, Rayl earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Park University, a master's in criminal justice from Washburn University, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law. A distinguished member of JCCC’s Board of Trustees, Rayl embodies a steadfast commitment to educational excellence and community advancement.

Special Commencement Ceremonies

Practical Nursing Pinning
Tuesday, May 14

JCCC’s highly selective Practical Nursing program offers sophisticated, hands-on classroom and clinical learning experiences that launch practical nursing careers.

GED Commencement
Tuesday, May 14

A favorite of JCCC faculty and staff, GED Commencement is guaranteed to inspire. Graduates of this self-paced program have gained:

  • Basic skills instruction in reading, writing, and math
  • GED high school equivalency test preparation
  • Instruction in work readiness and computer literacy skills

Respiratory Care and Neurodiagnostic Technology Commencement
Wednesday, May 15

Students in JCCC’s selective Respiratory Care program learn to identify, treat, and prevent breathing issues. They earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in just two years. The program boasts a 100% job placement rate for degree recipients who choose to enter the workplace directly after graduation.

JCCC’s selective Neurodiagnostic Technology (NDT) program is one of three programs in the United States, and is the only program in the country with a focus on pediatric care, thanks to JCCC’s partnership with Children’s Mercy Hospital. Fifteen out of 19 recent graduates were hired by award-winning hospitals in the Kansas City metropolitan area before graduation.

RN/Nursing Pinning
Wednesday, May 15

Students in JCCC’s selective admission registered nursing (RN) program get hands-on classroom and clinical learning experiences with hospitals, clinics, and community sites that partner with JCCC.  Program graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure. ranked JCCC as the No. 2 RN program in Kansas for 2024.

CONNECT Commencement
Thursday, May 16

2024 marks the first-ever graduating class of CONNECT students. The CONNECT program is a two-year continuing education certificate program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is designed to bridge the gap between high school and adult life. CONNECT includes:

  • Courses in life planning, career development, and independent living
  • On-campus internship opportunities
  • Courses for credit or audit
  • Continuing education courses

Dental Hygiene Pinning
Thursday, May 16

Students in JCCC’s highly selective dental hygiene program are trained in just two years to become licensed dental hygienists responsible for providing educational, clinical, and therapeutic oral healthcare services.

Police Academy Commencement
Friday, May 31

The Johnson County Regional Police Academy (JCRPA) is operated in cooperation with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, JCCC and the Johnson County Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association. Attendees are  newly hired officers from any of the 18 police agencies in Johnson County; they receive their basic training at JCCC and are certified as Kansas law enforcement officers upon successful completion of the program.

For more information on any of JCCC’s special Commencement ceremonies, contact Emma Swinney, Public and Media Relations Coordinator, at

For media inquiries, please contact:

Media interested in attending a Commencement ceremony should RSVP by contacting Emma Swinney, Public and Media Relations Coordinator, at

Emma Swinney
Public and Media Relations Coordinator

Chris Gray
VP, Strategic Communications & Marketing