Approximately 231 students will graduate when Lincoln College holds its 153rd commencement ceremony virtually on Saturday, May 9, at 12:30 p.m. (CDT). During these unprecedented times, Lincoln College invites family, friends, and the community alike to celebrate May graduates by viewing a virtual commencement broadcast. The May ceremony will include a pre-recorded recognition of graduates, with an invitation to return in May 2021 to walk at an in-person commencement celebration.
The virtual commencement ceremony will be shown on the Lincoln College website at lincolncollege.edu, as well as the College’s Facebook pages, beginning at 12:30 p.m. (CDT), on May 9. As in past years, the ceremony includes graduates from the Lincoln campus, as well as from Lincoln College’s Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) program, which includes students from the Normal, Lincoln, Peoria and Oglesby campuses. Over 38% of the graduates, for a total of 89 students, are eligible for honors lists.
Lincoln College will again feature two honorary doctorate degree recipients: Byron S. Bagby, Managing Partner of BMB Solutions LLC and retired U.S. Army Major General, and Bill Gossett, 1943 Lincoln College Alumnus and community ambassador. A formal ceremony awarding both recipients their respective honorary doctorate degrees will be held at a later date.
Featured commencement speaker, General Bagby, has served as Commandant of Joint Forces Staff College, Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Military Cooperation in Cairo, Egypt, managing security cooperation programs, and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Army in Europe, directing all the activities of over 1,000 people in 30 locations and nine countries. Bagby also held duties at the Pentagon on the Joint Staff and Department of the Army Staff.
General Bagby’s honors include two Army Distinguished Service medals, the Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Westminster College Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award, and Fulton Public School Hall of Fame inductee. He is also a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Bagby is a certified True Growth Leadership facilitator and Authentic Leadership Development Coach through the Chambers Bay Institute, coaching more than 400 leaders to live a life of significance. He is currently serving on the Advisory Board for Ryan Consulting as Chair, the Board of Directors of Management Support Technolgy, Inc., and the Board of Trustees for William Woods College and Southern Columbia University. Bagby previously served as a Board of Trustee member at Westminster College (MO) from 2012-2017.
Lincoln College’s second honorary degree recipient and featured graduate charge speaker, Bill Gossett, is a U.S. Army veteran and retired business owner. Gossett previously owned two area businesses, Gossett’s Cleaners and Gossett’s Decorator Studio, until retiring in 2001. Currently, Gossett hosts the weekly radio show, “View Point” on WLCN in Atlanta.
Gossett has held leadership positions in numerous civic organizations, including the Abraham Lincoln Hospital Association, American Legion, Knight’s Templar, Lincoln Rotary, Lincoln Toastmasters Club, Lincoln-Logan Chamber of Commerce, Masons, Oasis Senior Center, Salvation Army, and the Union Cemetery Association. He is an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church.
An advocate for education, Gossett has served on the Lincoln District 27 and West Lincoln-Broadwell school boards as well as the Lincoln Community High School steering committee. He has volunteered at Washington-Monroe Elementary and the Logan Correctional Center. Over the past seven decades, Gossett has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of Lincoln College, and has served as Board of Trustee member for fifteen years. He was inducted into the Lincoln College Athletic Hall of Fame as a friend of athletics in 2017. Gossett was also the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award.
In addition to the two honorary degree recipients, the student speaker this year will be Alex Beck, of Normal. Beck is receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management with a concentration in Accounting. He was the 2019 Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois for Lincoln College, an annual selection of one top senior from each college or university in Illinois. Beck was involved in Sigma Beta Delta, Sigma Tau Delta, and Alpha Sigma Lambda honor societies at Lincoln College. As an Eagle Scout, Beck has been involved with Boy Scout Troop 920 in Bloomington since 2014 and volunteers with McLean County’s Emergency Management Association. Beck currently works at COUNTRY Financial as an Administrative Services Associate Senior and owns BN Photography.