RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College recognized the Class of 2017 as official graduates on Saturday with 425 students receiving their degrees during the commencement ceremony on campus.
President Dr. Michelle Johnston said the class has thrived while at Rio and she is excited to see them excel in life.
“These students have worked so hard to reach this milestone in their lives. I am so proud of all they have accomplished in their time at Rio and I am confident they are ready to become leaders in their careers and communities,” Johnston said. “I thank them for making our campuses a part of their educational experiences and wish them the best of luck as they move forward to the next chapter of their lives.”
Gallia County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer and “Talk of the Town” host, Marianne B. Campbell was the commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. Campbell has earned several achievement awards such as the Distinguished Alumna award at her alma mater, Chatham University (then Pennsylvania College for Women) and has made history by breaking barriers as the first woman elected to the boards of numerous organizations. She said she encourages the students to go above and beyond the call of their careers to be leaders in their fields.
“To be successful, you need to strive toward and live up to your full potential. You have the necessary tools, all you need is the imagination and determination to use them. Communication, the ability to talk to people, one on one, clearly express your thoughts and ideas, and establish meaningful relationships with people who are important to you, actually everyone with whom you come in contact. To be successful in any endeavor, you must be an effective communicator,” Campbell said. “Develop your leadership skills, but also be a team player. In addition, go the extra mile. I wish each of you only the best, on this, the first day of the rest of your life.”
Provost Dr. Richard Sax said the class has made a lasting impression on Rio, and he hopes they continue to be influential members of society wherever their lives may take them.
“As we end the 141st Commencement at Rio Grande, I am pleased to reflect on the knowledge and skill sets we have endeavored to instill in our graduates. The faculty have enjoyed these years of interacting with and mentoring our students,” Sax said. “As those graduates look toward their future professional and personal commitments, it is my hope that we have gifted them not only with educational proficiencies, but also with the passion to being sensitive to the voids and needs of this world and answering the call to be of use addressing those issues and making a difference for many decades to come.”
The institution’s administration, faculty, staff and boards of trustees wish the Class of 2017 the best of luck and thank the graduates’ families for supporting their achievements during their time at Rio.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist for URG.