Calhoun Announces 2018 Graduation Activities; ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker to Deliver Commencement Address

May 3, 2018

Decatur, AL — Calhoun Community College will conduct its 2018 graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 11th, 2018, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the front lawn of the Math/Science/Administration (MSA) building on the Decatur campus. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held on Saturday morning, May 12th at 10:00 am at the same location. For those unable to attend, the graduation ceremony will be livestreamed. To access the link to the live stream, visit Calhoun’s website at The direct link will be located on the site’s homepage.

According to Calhoun’s Office of Admissions, more than 1700 students have qualified for graduation this year. Of that number, approximately 400 students plan to participate in this year’s ceremony. A unique feature added to the ceremony several years ago will continue this year – bagpiper Ryan Morrison will lead the graduation procession. Additionally, Calhoun student Ryan Heath has been selected to deliver this year’s student message. A member of the class of 2018, Ryan is an officer with Calhoun’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and was recognized this year as one of Calhoun’s Top Ten students.

Commencement Address

Speaker for this year’s graduation service is Mr. Jimmy Baker, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. A native of Coffee County Alabama, Baker attended high school in New Brockton, and later earned a BS degree in Business Administration from Troy University. He earned a graduate degree in Economics and Education Administration and an Education Specialist degree from Auburn University, where he was also certified in school administration. He served for six years in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Professionally, he has taught history and social studies at the high school level; coached football and basketball at Daleville High School; served as Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of Education for the Daleville Board of Education; and superintendent of the Coffee County Board of Education. In 1979, he was appointed

the State of Alabama’s Assistant State Superintendent of Education of Finance and served in that role for four years.

After serving as president of an investment-banking firm, Baker managed the gubernatorial campaign for Governor Fob James. He was appointed as State Finance Director from 1994-95, where he developed and assisted in the passage of the funding formula known as the Foundation Program. Later, he was appointed as Deputy State Superintendent of Education to implement the new funding program. He returned to the Finance Department as Director during Gov. James’ administration, after successful implementation of the program.

Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in the development of partnerships with businesses including medical evacuation, real estate development and governmental affairs. As an educator, he has chaired and served on numerous committees including the Alabama Textbook Committee, the State Tenure Commission, and the Alabama Association of School Administrators.

After joining the Alabama Community College System, first serving as governmental affairs consultant, he was appointed Chief of Staff in January 2016. Baker was appointed as acting chancellor of the Alabama Community College System in August 2016. On March 15, 2017, he was named Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. Baker is married to Joy, a retired teacher, and they are the parents of two daughters and proud grandparents to four grandchildren.

Nursing Candlelighting Ceremony

Earlier in the day on May 11th, 41 students graduating from Calhoun’s Associate Degree Nursing program will participate in the annual Candlelighting Ceremony. The ceremonies will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Decatur.

GED Graduation

This year’s graduation week events will kick off with the College’s 2018 GED graduation on Tuesday, May 8th at 6pm at Athens State University in the Carter Physical Education Center, with a reception to follow in the Sandridge Student Center Ballroom. Speaker for this year’s GED graduation service is Michael Coleman, founder and executive director of Hope Inspired Ministries in Greenville, AL. According to the GED office, 186 students have successfully passed the GED test and are eligible to graduate. This number is expected to increase as students are completing their GED testing this week.


Due to current construction projects at the Decatur campus that have affected normal parking patterns, those planning to attend the graduation ceremony should plan to arrive early. Sufficient parking will be available and will be designated by signage.

For more information about Calhoun’s 2018 graduation ceremonies, contact Carla Swinney, graduation coordinator, at 256-306-2870 or visit the graduation page.