More than 200 people celebrated a milestone as they graduated with hard-earned degrees during the 42nd annual Spring Commencement at Washington State Community College on Saturday.
"What a wonderful day to celebrate the graduates and all of their tremendous accomplishments," WSCC president Bradley Ebersole said. "For the candidates and their families, this ceremony celebrates a true milestone in their lives."
The college held three separate ceremonies throughout Saturday to best accommodate the graduates along with their families and friends in the Harvey Graham Auditorium of the campus' Arts and Sciences Building. The 9:30 a.m. ceremony included the Arts, Science, Individualized Studies and Public Service departments, the 11:30 a.m. ceremony was for the Business Technologies department and the 1:30 p.m. event was for graduates of the Engineering, Industrial Technologies and Health and Wellness departments.
JOLENE CRAIG Special to the Times
The Arts, Science, Individualized Studies and Public Service candidates for graduation sit on the stage of the Harvey Graham Auditorium of Washington State Community College in Marietta with the speakers and honored guests as Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Athens, speaks during the first of three separate ceremonies throughout the day Saturday.
More than 110 students participated in the three ceremonies.
This was the second year for the graduates to sit on the stage during the ceremonies while the faculty and staff sat in the crowd with families and friends.
"We wanted them to be front and center to make their day just a little more special," Ebersole said.
Dr. George McAfee, a 1987 WSCC graduate with an associate's degree in electrical engineering, was named the distinguished alumnus for his outstanding professional achievement.
"It is without a doubt, my time at Washington State started me on the journey to working with global corporations," McAfee said. "Individual success is a bit over-rated... This whole concept of paying it forward is real and I challenge you to go and make a difference in the life of someone else and you will be a success."
Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Athens, served as the keynote speaker for the Arts, Science, Individualized Studies and Public Service commencement and told the students to find a way to reach their personal goals through community service.
"Your success today is celebrated by those who love you in your personal community of friends and family," Phillips said. "Your city, state and nation have a stake in your success because the community you live in supports you and you it."
Phillips suggested everyone find ways that personal goals match those of the community to find where their aid could best be utilized.
"Identify ways to be an active citizen of Ohio and the country through your service," she said.
While the Arts, Science, Individualized Studies and Public Service ceremony saw McAfee recognized and Phillips speak, the ceremonies for the Business Technologies and Engineering, Industrial Technologies and Health and Wellness departments had Kenneth J. Schilling, general manager and CEO of Washington Electric Cooperative, as keynote speaker and Susan D. Strauss, a WSCC graduate of 1993, received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding community service.
Following each graduation service there was a reception in the student commons of the campus' main building.