By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
It was almost déjà vu of May 2010 on Saturday morning. It looked as if rain was going to put a damper on the graduation ceremonies at Shawnee State University, but just before 10 a.m., the drizzle stopped, and while the sun didn’t fill the void, it was at least dry, and more than 1,000 people watched as 485 degrees were conferred. Ten received master’s degrees in either education or occupational therapy; 287 received bachelor’s degrees, and 197 took home associate degrees. Thirty-seven graduated magna cum laude, with a grade average of 3.75 to 3.89, and 83 graduated cum laude, with an average of 3.50 to 3.74.
Shawnee State University President Dr. Rita Rice Morris thanked the students, saying they have already done “something remarkable,” by graduating. She also mentioned the hard work of the faculty and recognized several who are retiring.
Dr. Janna B. Gallaher, professor of Computer Engineering; Dr. Dan Moore, professor of Business; William Penn, associate professor of Computer Engineering; Dr. Larry Lonney, assistant professor of Natural Sciences; Dr. George Trampe, professor of Natural Sciences; Julia Basham, professor of Natural Sciences; and Dr. Scott Oliver, professor of Natural Sciences.
Morris told the audience those retiring faculty members had taught a total of 203 years at Shawnee State University, ranging individually from 21 to 36 years of service.
“Assuming each one taught an average of 100 students a semester, these ‘super humans’ tried to impart new knowledge and understanding into over 40,000 students in over 18,000 classes,” Morris said.
Morris then turned her attention to the parents and families of the graduating students.
“Education comes with a price — and, not just financial,” Morris told those in attendance. “The price includes time, energy and support. Sometimes, it means working two jobs, and carrying more than one person’s share of the load to make college an option. It’s about never giving up. And, that gift is something your graduates will carry with them throughout their lives. Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made.”
Morris focused the remainder of her speech on those in caps and gowns, enduring the muggy temperatures.
“After today, you will join an outstanding group — Shawnee State alumni,” Morris said. “They are over 13,000 strong, and they’ve left this campus to make an impact on the world as Shawnee State University graduates. You’ve each made a name for yourself at Shawnee State. Now, it’s time for the world to benefit from your talents, gifts and knowledge.”
Morris kept with her tradition of quoting lines from current movies as she ended her speech.
“This spring, The Hunger Games has been a box office hit. It’s a movie based on a trilogy of best-selling books about life in a post-apocalyptic world. The hero and heroine face tremendous odds to survive and thrive in terror-filled games, which are a cross between the Olympics and Survivor. As you leave today to enter your own new arenas of challenge and success, I offer you the advice of the novel’s game makers when they say to the contestants, may the odds be ever in your favor.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.