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Streaming Video of Commencement A Success; Available Through Aug. 13

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

4 August 2004 -- Jacksonville State University's first graduation ceremony broadcast via Internet streaming on 30 July was a success, according to Mike Hathcock, director of television and engineering in the Department of Television Services.

“We looked at the stats, and it looked as if people from about 70 sites were watching,” said Mr. Hathcock. “We've had calls and e-mails from people thanking us and saying it was almost like being here.”

The project took two weeks to coordinate, and the announcement to the public was made only two days prior to airing.

One of those who appreciated the opportunity for distant family members to watch commencement was Lynn Varcak, secretary in the Registrar's Office. Her son Kevin lives on a military base in the Marshall Islands in the North Pacific Ocean and watched his brother, Brian, graduate.

“When we came home from graduation, there was a message on our answering machine that was, ‘Hi, Brian, just wanted to let you know I saw you walk across the stage and get your diploma.' That made it feel like he was with us,” said Mrs. Varcak. She said they received a call later from family members huddled around a computer in Clinton Township, Mich. “They e-mailed us and said they saw Brian get his diploma and heard a few kind words from the President.”

Mr. Hathcock said viewers were noted from throughout the southeast and Missouri, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Visits were recorded from other military installations, which could be from anywhere in the world.

“We could not have done this without the help of Ted White, my assistant engineer,” said Mr. Hathcock. “His background is in Internet technology. Other members of my staff helped, and the staff in the Division of Information Technology was vital to what we did.”

The project was a test. Video streaming's future at JSU will be determined later and might include other types of programming.

Graduates and others who want to watch the taped ceremony can go to and click on “Summer 2004 Graduation – Web Streaming Archive” through 13 August.

Sherry Kughn can be contacted at




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