NIC to host virtual commencement ceremony Friday

| May 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Students graduating this year from North Idaho College will be joined by friends, family, faculty, staff and alumni as they gather online at 10 a.m. Friday, May 22, for a virtual commencement ceremony.

There are 776 students who are eligible to graduate from degree and certificate programs this year.

The college’s traditional in-person commencement event, held annually in Christianson Gymnasium and attended by hundreds, was canceled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am especially proud of these students for the great resilience they have shown in achieving their educational goals during this unique and challenging time in history,” said NIC President Rick MacLennan.

MacLennan said the decision to cancel the traditional commencement ceremony was one of the most difficult decisions he has had to make due to the pandemic. But the college’s commencement planners quickly switched gears, he said, to create a virtual event with many of the same traditions NIC graduates have enjoyed for years.

This year’s commencement speaker is Joe Dunlap, who serves as chair of the NIC Board of Trustees.

Upon graduating from Whitworth University, Dunlap served in the U.S. Army as an aviation officer for 20 years, flying AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. He received an MBA from City University of Seattle and a doctorate from Oregon State University.

Dunlap began his career in higher education as director of the School of Aviation Sciences at Western Michigan University and subsequently served in a variety of community college positions including president of Spokane Community College and president of NIC.

The virtual commencement video will be streamed for viewing at 10 a.m. Friday on the college’s YouTube ( and Facebook (@northidahocollege) pages. Commencement viewers will be able to comment online in real-time to congratulate and engage with the graduating students.

A copy of the North Idaho College 2020 Commencement Ceremony program can be downloaded at