By Wayne Allen
December 14, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Shawnee State University (SSU) held its fall graduation ceremonies Friday, in the Vern Riffe Center For the Arts. During the ceremonies, 206 students graduated — including 117 Bachelors degrees, and 71 Associates degrees and 18 Master’s degrees.
“Graduation is an event that marks the completion of one phase of life and the beginning of another. It’s an occasion full of expectations and rituals: which includes hope for meaningful employment, and in addition to receiving a diploma — gift giving, and parties,” said Dr. Rita Rice Morris, President of SSU. “And, all of us representing Shawnee State thank you for allowing us to share in your celebration, and time of transition.”
Morris then presented the students and those in attendance with how things have changed over the years.
“Over your lifetime, the world has changed at a mind-boggling rate. Just think about how our everyday lives have changed over the past ten years. Does it surprise you that text messaging didn’t exist before the year 2000? Social networking was created in 2003? Google in 2004? Or, that no one had heard of an iPhone before 2007?” Morris said.
During her speech Morris recognized the passing of South African leader Nelson Mandela.
“As I watched the news coverage of his (Mandela) life and struggles to bring democracy to South Africa, I was struck by how much the world changed in his lifetime – not in terms of the technology we use, but in the way we treat each other and the views, values, and freedoms that we hold, protect, and sometimes take for granted. I was also reminded of the difference that one person can make,” Morris said. “As college graduates, you are armed to make a difference in your world — whether you define that world as your home, your neighborhood, your state, nation, or even planet.”
Morris said then addressed the uniqueness of a college graduate, “graduating from college is something only one-in-four Ohio high school graduates accomplishes. If you are from the immediate southern Ohio regions — which many of you are — you are among only 10 percent of the population who earns a college degree. If you are one of the 18 graduates today earning a master’s degree, you are among only 8 percent of the population of all of Ohio who earn advanced degrees.”
It has become something of tradition for Morris to insert a recent movie quote into her graduation speeches, this year was no different.
“During your years at Shawnee, you’ve heard your share of famous quotes from renowned scholars, poets, and authors, but I like to look at popular culture — especially to the movies — for my parting words of encouragement and wisdom at commencement,” Morris said. “This year was easy. James P. Sullivan and Mike Wizowski headed off to college in ‘Monsters University’ to learn how to be scary. What could be more relevant, right? Of course, I identified with Dean Hardscrabble who challenged students to be their best, stating: ‘I’m here to make good scarers great, not make mediocre scarers less mediocre.
And that’s the point of an outstanding education. Higher education is designed to teach you how to think. How to communicate. How to solve problems. And, give you a strong foundation for life-long learning in your chosen field. I urge you to make a difference in the world your education has prepared you for.”
For more information about Shawnee State University visit www.shawnee.edu.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.