Local News

Judge Hettel Keynotes May 18th IVCC Commencement

La Salle County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Hettel, an Illinois Valley Community College graduate, will deliver the college’s keynote address at its 53rd annual commencement at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18 in the gymnasium.


A native of Ottawa, Judge Hettel graduated from Marquette High School. In 1987, he earned an associate’s degree from IVCC and was a National Junior College Athletic Association Honorable Mention All-American linebacker.


After earning the juris doctorate from Chicago Kent College of Law, he began his legal career as an Assistant La Salle County State’s Attorney in 1994, was elected State’s Attorney in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.


In 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Hettel Resident Circuit Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit, LaSalle County. He ran unopposed in 2008 and was retained in 2014.

He resides in rural Ottawa with his wife, Leah, and their three children.


About 200 students are expected to walk at the commencement ceremony including some of the 158 summer 2018 graduates, 165 fall graduates, 379 projected spring graduates and 82 projected summer 2019 graduates.


Also at commencement:


  • Clayton Zelenik of Princeton will read his winning Paul Simon Student Essay;

  • IVCC’s Wind Ensemble will be conducted by Gene Montgomery for the final time as he is retiring after the performance;

  • President Jerry Corcoran will welcome graduates and confer certificates and degrees;

  • Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Anderson will present the Class of 2019;

  • 2018-19 student trustee Joseph Marenda of Spring Valley will present the invocation; and

  • 2019-20 student trustee Matthew Klein of Peru will present the benediction.