NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, Tidewater Community College will hold commencement activities in-person this December.

The ceremony will be open to current fall semester graduates, as well as students who graduated in 2020.

State Del. Jay Jones (D-89th District) will be the commencement speaker for the 73rd Commencement Exercises.

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The event will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 20 at Chartway Arena in Norfolk.

It will also be streamed live on the TCC website.

The college said it expects more than 1,000 students to participate in commencement activities.

Jones has represented the 89th House of Delegates District since he was elected in 2017. He has worked to expand Medicaid, increase the minimum wage and give teachers a raise. He’s also supported environmental policies to preserve the quality of air, water and land.

Jones also drafted the Ashanti Alert bill, which was named after Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old woman who was abducted on her way to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in September 2017. The bill eventually became federal law and ensures there’s an emergency alert for individuals who are endangered but aren’t children or senior citizens.

“In addition, he sponsored legislation to deconcentrate poverty in urban communities, achieve a fair regulatory scheme for our public utilities and create an earned income tax credit in Virginia,” according to TCC.

Jones is a descendant of slaves and his family had been in Norfolk since the early 20th century.

“His grandfather, Hilary H. Jones, Sr., was a pioneering Civil Rights attorney in Norfolk and became the first Black member of the Norfolk School Board. In 1969, he was appointed to the State Board of Education, the first Black to be named to the board in the history of Virginia,” TCC said.

Jones’ father, Jerrauld C. Jones, also served in all three branches of state government and is one of few in Virginia to do so. He served in the General Assembly from 1988 to 2002, as director of the Department of Juvenile Justice under Gov. Mark Warner, and as a circuit court judge, which he still currently does.

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