NPC Announces In-Person Commencement, Plans For Fall Opening

National Park College (NPC) announced plans for spring commencement and fall semester Wednesday during the regular monthly board meeting.

Yolanda Cox, director of National Park University Center shared spring commencement ceremonies will be in-person Saturday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bank OZK Arena. A live stream of the event will also be available. Graduates from the class of 2020 and 2021 for both NPC and Adult Basic Education will be included in the event. NPC hosted a drive-through commencement ceremony last May due to restrictions on large gatherings.

Cox estimated that approximately 250 – 300 students will participate in commencement. “We are expecting between 225 and 250 2020/21 NPC graduates and 30 – 50 students 2020/21 Adult Ed graduates,” said Cox. She noted, “Students are excited about the commencement ceremony, and we are looking forward to celebrating our 2020 and 2021 graduates.”

Cox also reported that NPC plans to fully open campus for the fall semester. She noted that options will still be available for those who want to attend remotely or online. Student services will also continue to be available virtually, as well as in person.

NPC President, Dr. John Hogan said the campus was optimistic and excited about hosting an in-person commencement and commended the Academic Affairs team for transitioning the event so quickly. “I think this commencement is going to be very special, especially for the class of 2020.”

Hogan shared data on NPC’s academic programs over the past five years. He noted new degree and certificate options increased from 66 in 2015 to 154 today, an increase of 133%. In 2015, NPC offered four transfer options compared to 103 today, an increase of 2475%. “Academic Affairs should experience a great feeling of accomplishment in those strides forward to invest in our students,” he said.

“As in years past, we are planning for a fall opening that features rich student life experiences for students. We will continue to reopen safely and as close to normal as possible,” said Hogan. He explained that the campus learned a lot about learning styles and media and plans to leverage the lessons learned to improve student success this fall and beyond. “NPC's drumbeat has remained the same through the pandemic, and that is – How do we improve student success? What can we do to invest in the student experience and grow our quality of life and our workforce here in the county? There is some energy and optimism around that on campus and we want our community to know that we are going to be focused on providing those opportunities again for our students.”