Commencement Livestream

Watch the 140th Commencement ceremony live. Saturday, May 11 at 10 a.m.


Watch Live

Signature Programs

Cottey students doing service work in a community garden

Beyond The Common Reader 2024

This immersion experience was inspired by the fall 2023 common read, What the Eyes Don’t See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. In this book, Dr. Mona recounts her experience and hard-fought battle to bring attention to the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Similarly, our immersion to New Orleans focused on environmental justice issues along with the organizations and individuals working to address those issues. 

Led by Denise Carrick Hedges and Dr. Mary Mba, students traveled to New Orleans March 3-7, 2024 to participate in guided tours to see the environmental justice issues at play in New Orleans, meet with leaders working to address those issues, and volunteer with a non-profit organization. 

Cottey students in Canada, learning about indigenous cultures

Beyond The Common Reader 2023

Nine students attended A Mind Spread Out on the Ground immersion to Canada in May 2023. This immersion was meant to enhance the common reader experience read in fall 2022. The experience focused on Indigenous voices and experiences throughout history and in contemporary times. A highlight of the experience was learning about the programming provided at The Native Women’s Resource Centre and their recent efforts to elevate the voices of 4000 murdered and missing Indigenous women. 

Following the immersion to Canada, participants enrolled in IDS 111: Be a Changemaker during the fall 2023 semester. In this course, each student developed and facilitated a changemaker action project impacting a cause or community they care about. Projects range from cross generational sharing to women’s health and wellness to the history and culture of the Pacific Islands.

Finally, the immersion participants traveled to the College Leadership Summit in Chicago, Illinois to explore the topics of social justice, human rights, and inclusion. While there, students led a Changemaker networking session where they worked in small groups with attendees to help brainstorm through the changemaker action project workbook and helped attendees begin to draft their own grant proposal to fund their own Changemaker project. 

Beyond the Common Reader 2022

The Girl Who Smiled Beads Immersion, 2022
Serenbetz Leadership Immersion Award

Incredible. Sobering. Amazing. Enlightening. These were just a few of the words used to describe The Girl Who Smiled Beads immersion in Chicago, Illinois. 

This immersion experience was inspired by the fall 2021 common read, The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil. In this book, Wamariya recounts her experience as a Rwandan child refugee fleeing war and genocide in her country. The immersion provided an experiential learning component to FWS that allowed students to understand the global awareness character traits addressed in the pages of The Girl Who Smiled Beads in a more sophisticated and critical way.

Led by Denise Carrick Hedges and Dr. Mary Mba, twelve students volunteered with GirlForward, a nonprofit that supports girls who have been displaced globally by conflict; visited the Ukrainian Museum to learn about the Ukrainian genocide and immigration to the US; visited the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center to meet with survivor Ralph Reybeck; and considered ways they can make a difference in their own communities.

Tap here to view photos from the immersion!

Beyond the Common Reader 2021

Just Mercy Immersion, 2021
Serenbetz Leadership Immersion Award

This immersion experience was inspired by the fall 2020 common read, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. In this book, Stevenson recounts his early years working as a lawyer to defend poor, marginalized, and even wrongfully-accused and imprisoned individuals in the South. The immersion allowed students to understand the personal and social responsibility character traits addressed in the pages of Just Mercy in a more sophisticated and critical way. 

Eight selected students traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to experience The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, and met with staff at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). An unexpected treat was meeting Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and EJI founder, walking along a street near the museum. Mr. Stevenson was gracious enough to visit briefly and take a picture with the group.



Additional Programs


This annual event is meant to compliment the first-year writing seminar curriculum and is required of all first-year students and open to the all students, faculty, and staff. The purpose is to expose our campus to people who are leading change efforts in their communities in order to inspire and empower our students to work for change in their own communities.


This annual event is meant to compliment the Writing 102 curriculum.This panel discussion highlights panelists who have found success in the workplace. During the panel, the audience learns about each panelists’ educational background, their career path, and how writing plays a role in their work.