It may have been raining outside Sunday afternoon, but inside the Dyson-Baudo Recreation Center was packed with families, friends and well-wishers as more than 300 members of the Class of 2012 received diplomas during Marietta College's 175th Commencement.
"Then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free," Marietta College President Jean Scott told the graduates, sharing from John 8:32-her favorite New Testament verse.
"The quest for knowledge and truth is hard work-it requires energy, commitment and passion," she said. "Seek the truth wherever it may lead. And knowing the truth will lead to confidence, not to arrogance."
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Marietta College alumnus Shianne Preston of Williamstown, left, hugs graduate and former roomie Francesca Gionfriddo of Milton, Mass., following the college’s 175th commencement exercises Sunday.
Delivering her final address to a graduating class, Scott, who is retiring after 12 years with the institution this year, encouraged the students to find joy in their life's work and to always continue raising the bar for themselves.
"And doing good work is always fundamental to happiness and success," she said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Leonard M. (Randy) Randolph, Jr., divisional senior vice president and chief medical officer at Mercy Health Partners in Cincinnati, and a member of the Class of 1965, echoed Scott's comments.
MC's 2012 commencement:
Sunday marked Marietta College's 175th commencement exercises.
320 students from the Class of 2012 were granted degrees.
This was the final commencement at the institution for retiring Marietta College President Jean Scott.
The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Leonard M. (Randy) Randolph, Jr.
Class valedictorian was Jennifer E. Masters of Woodsfield, Ohio.
Class salutatorian was Leesha D. Miller of Sistersville, W.Va.
"Continued challenge provides consistent growth," he said. "Without challenge, you will not grow."
Following the commencement address, Randolph also surprised the graduating class with a text message-"Congratulations! We've Been Waiting For You!"
Making it to graduation day wasn't easy for psychology major Kristen Lowe of Marietta, who, along with fiance Zach Warden, just had their first daughter, Raleigh, three months ago.
"They had the nursery all ready to go, but then at 2 a.m. the night before they were to bring the baby home, their house burned down," related Zach's mom, Sherrie Warden.
The couple had to move in with Sherrie and husband Mark until they were able to find another home.
Through it all Kristen was somehow able to keep up with her classes and was among the graduates Sunday afternoon.
"I'm really very proud of her," Zach said.
Jenny Worthington from Lowell, is another psychology major.
"I'm going to start on my master's degree next fall, so I'll be back here for one more year," she said.
With a degree in petroleum engineering, fellow grad Michael Paulus from Woodsfield won't be back at college next fall.
"I'm working with Baker Hughes (oilfield services company) in Denver, Colo., this summer," he said. "I found a lot of companies are looking for full-time employees and interns in my field."
Graduate Chase Oberfield, a biology major from Heath, Ohio, said he'll be going to Quantico, Va., for military training with the U.S. Marines.
"I just received my commission as 2nd Lieutenant at 11 this morning," he said.
Oberfield traded the traditional cap and gown for his full dress Marine uniform during Sunday's graduation exercises.
Diplomas for a variety of 44 different majors were handed out before an estimated crowd of more than 2,000 family and friends during Sunday's commencement exercises.