Mitchell College Announces Commencement Speaker and Plans

Mitchell College is delighted to announce Dr. Christopher Parker, president and chief executive officer of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), as commencement speaker for its 77th Commencement exercises.  He will be addressing the Class of 2021 as part of Mitchell’s virtual commencement ceremony, on Saturday, May 8, at 6 p.m. on the college website.

As a complement to the virtual ceremony, graduates have been invited to don their regalia and receive their diplomas, in person, from Mitchell College President Tracy Y. Espy by pre-registering to attend one of four staggered, limited capacity ceremonies earlier in the day.

Dr. Parker has led the NJCAA, comprised of more than 500 colleges, since 2017, and is deeply committed to access to higher education for all students through a variety of pathways – including through athletics.  He has deep experience in higher education leadership and not-for-profit management in both the Virginia Community College System and Pfeiffer University and also serves on the boards of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the United States International Federation.  Ensuring students have access and encouragement to realize their fullest potential is at the heart of all that Dr. Parker does.

Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, Mitchell College president, said, “Dr. Parker is a visionary advocate for access to education for young people from all walks of life.  He is also quite passionate about baseball, as a former coach and player.  He understands the nature of curveballs – something the class of 2021 knows well, as they have adjusted to a new normal with poise, perseverance and determination during the pandemic.  We look forward to Dr. Parker’s inspiration as he addresses the class on May 8.”

Plans are also underway to honor the Mitchell College Class of 2020 during a special celebration in the late summer or fall.