Coahoma Announces Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Virtual Commencement

Coahoma Announces Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Coahoma Community College will hold a virtual commencement celebration on May 30, at 10:00 a.m., for all students earning degrees and certifications at the end of the 2020 spring semester.

Coahoma Announces Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Marriel Hardy


Fri Apr 24, 2020

Virtual Commencement

Coahoma Community College will hold a virtual commencement celebration on May 30, at 10:00 a.m., for all students earning degrees and certifications at the end of the 2020 spring semester.

The College postponed its May 9, in-person commencement due to the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The virtual event does not replace an in-person ceremony, and members of the class of 2020 may have the opportunity to participate in a future in-person commencement.

"Graduation is super important to students and all stakeholders involved in the process of providing support to students while matriculating at Coahoma," said Coahoma President Dr. Valmadge T. Towner. "In that, we are unable to have graduation as planned due to our current health crisis. We still believe it is important to celebrate the success of our newest graduates."

Towner serves as the 5th President of Coahoma Community College and, in the past, has presided over commencement ceremonies. He is also a graduate of the College and knows firsthand the joy, excitement, and feeling of accomplishment that comes with graduating, especially from Coahoma.

"For that reason, we are thrilled to have our first virtual graduation. As with all CCC events, we are hopeful that this commencement exercise via a digital platform will adequately honor and showcase our students," Towner added. "Our students have worked hard to earn their degrees, and we want to pay homage to each 2020 graduate."

In addition to the class of 2020 being honored, the Coahoma Junior College Golden Class of 1970 will be honored during the ceremony. 

Each May, Coahoma celebrates the milestone anniversary of the Golden Graduates.

Golden Graduates are encouraged to participate in this year's event and take part in the virtual celebratory activities over the weekend.

Though the 2020 celebration will be different from those of the past, it's still the perfect time for celebration, remembering the history of CJC and possibly virtually reconnecting with classmates and making new memories.

Orlando PadenRep. Orlando Paden will serve as the commencement speaker, addressing the class of 2020.

Paden is a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, representing District 26. He assumed office on January 5, 2016. Paden's current term ends on January 2, 2024.

Orlando W. Paden is a native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, and the son of Cornelius and Lisa Paden. Paden is a proud 2002 graduate of Coahoma Agricultural High School. Graduating with honors from Coahoma Community College in 2004, he went on to graduate magna cum laude from Alcorn State University in 2006, having studied political science pre-law.  His educational achievements then led to graduate studies at Delta State University and Belhaven College.

In 2015, Paden was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives to serve District 26, which makes up Coahoma and Bolivar counties.  Orlando serves on eight committees—Agriculture; Education; Enrolled Bills; Public Health and Human Services; Revenue and Expenditure General Bills; State Library; Tourism; and Universities and Colleges.

During his term, he has been a staunch supporter of public education, university and college funding, and health for all Mississippians. In 2018, Paden was selected as a Mississippi Legislator delegate to study government abroad in Taiwan.  In 2019, Paden was re-elected to serve a second term as state representative for the 26th house district.

Paden was employed from 2007 to 2015 as the Federal Workstudy/JLD coordinator at Coahoma Community College.  In this role, he supervised more than 350 student workers, while also monitoring, maintaining, and processing student payroll and serving as a financial aid counselor.  Before getting hired at Coahoma Community College in 2006, Paden was employed as the resource coordinator at the Quitman County Development Organization in Marks, Miss.  As coordinator, he assisted area families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita through housing placement, financial literacy, and family counseling. Paden was privileged to have been one of the 50 student participants chosen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famous historical case Brown v. The Board of Education, a recognition organized by the Southern Educational Association Foundation of Atlanta, Georgia.

Paden was named president-elect of the Southern Association of Student Employment Administration in April of 2013.  He led the largest student employment region in the National Association of Student Employment Administrators and served as the 2013 chairman of the professional UPS and Diversity Scholarship committee.

Paden was a dedicated member of professional organizations, including the Mississippi Association of Financial Aid Administrators (2008-2015), the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (2007-2009), and the National Association of Student Employment Administrators (2009-2015).

His personal philosophy is embodied through the words of Mahalia Jackson, "If I can help somebody, as I pass along; if I can cheer somebody, with a word or song; if I can show somebody how they are traveling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain." He has served and continues serving in many leadership roles for local and state civic organizations. A few of the past positions he has held include Coahoma County NAACP youth president and youth advisor, vice president of Mississippi's NAACP Conference Youth, president of the Epsilon Xi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, and state chairman of the Rules and Credentialing committee for the District of Mississippi Conference of Alpha Phi Alpha.  He also served as chairman of the Epsilon Xi Lambda chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Award and Prayer Breakfast from 2010 until 2019. During the breakfast, the fraternity recognizes community leaders from each service area.  High school students from across the Mississippi Delta participate in an oratorical contest, and the winners receive scholarships.

Paden currently serves on the Aaron E. Henry Health Services (AEH) board and the AEH Health Services Finance committee. He is the former board president of the Headstart Policy Council for Coahoma Opportunities Incorporated (2011-2013). He serves as a board member of Jonestown, Mississippi's Family Center for Education and Wellness, Jonestown's Habitat for Humanity Family Home Selection committee, member of the 2013 William Winter Round Table Institute, and former vice-chairman of Clarksdale Revitalization.

He is an active member of the Coahoma Community College National Alumni Association and has served on various committees of the organization. Paden is an active member and the budget chairman of the North Delta chapter of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association.

Paden is a member of New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ.  A devoted Christian, he serves as chairman of New Jerusalem's trustee board, and he assists with the youth department. There, he is also a member of the deacon ministry and choir ministry.

The virtual ceremony will be held on several official Coahoma Community College platforms, including CCC's Facebook page, its YouTube channel, and the College's website beginning at 10 a.m. CST, on May 30. Members of the 2020 class, their friends, families, and Tigers everywhere are invited to gather online and make this the largest Coahoma commencement ever, as college leadership recognizes graduates and confers their degrees. The ceremony will feature remarks from Divisional Deans and music from the Coahoma Community Choir.

More details surrounding the event will be released when available.