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News

Calhoun Goes Virtual for 2020 Commencement

June 29, 2020

Chris VrennaCalhoun Community College will honor its graduates on Friday, August 7, 2020, at 6:00 pm through a virtual commencement ceremony. The College’s Nursing Program will also hold its traditional Candlelighting ceremony from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Both ceremonies are closed to only participating graduates and faculty. Although guests are not permitted, the event will be live-streamed at www.calhoun.edu/graduation.

According to the Calhoun Admissions Office, more than 1,900 students have qualified for graduation. Of that number, over 150 students plan to participate in this year’s ceremony with more names being added daily to the list.

“When making the difficult decision to go virtual, our biggest concern was the safety of our graduates, faculty and staff, as well as ensuring that this year’s virtual ceremony includes as many of the same elements as our traditional program,” commented Dr. Joe Burke, Calhoun Interim President. “Although the program will not include the personal loud cheers from family and friends congratulating the graduates as they walk across the stage, our graduation committee has been committed to planning a very meaningful experience despite our current circumstances,” added Burke.

The speaker for this year’s graduation ceremony is Chris Vrenna, Calhoun Department Head for Music Technology. He is also a Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, engineer, remixer, composer, but is best known as a former, founding member and drummer of Nine Inch Nails.

Vrenna, a native of Erie, Pennsylvania, received his Bachelor of Science degree in General Education from Kent State University in Kent Ohio and plans to graduate this December with a Master’s Degree in Music with an emphasis on Music Technology.

In 1988, the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails (NIN) was formed, sold over 20 million records, and has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards. Vrenna toured with NIN for almost ten years and was also the drummer for Gnarls Barkley and the drummer/keyboardist for Marilyn Manson.

In his career, he has remixed and programmed for numerous international artists including U2, Rob Zombie, Weezer, Evanescence, and Slipknot. A well-known video game composer, Vrenna’s vast portfolio also includes American McGee’s Alice, Doom 3, Quake 4, Call of Duty: ExoZombies, and Quake Champions.

While complications from a torn rotator cuff halted his career as a professional musician, he is now able to teach and inspire students in an industry that he loves. Joining the Calhoun family in the fall of 2017, Vrenna combines his past experiences with music technology education to provide students with the most realistic introduction to the music industry.

“I am extremely honored to speak to the graduates for this very special and unique commencement ceremony,” commented Vrenna. “Even though things look a bit different this year, this is still an important day, and I am so proud of our students for persevering through the hardships and struggles they had to endure over the last few months,” added Vrenna.

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