RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College recognize the Class of 2016 as official graduates.
Four hundred twenty-five students received their degrees Saturday at the commencement ceremony on campus. President Dr. Michelle Johnston said the class has excelled 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 thank them for making our campuses a part of their lives,” Johnston said. “I am confident they will become leaders in their careers and communities, and I wish them the best of luck for their futures.”
Rio alumna and Miss Ohio 2016 Megan Wise was the commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. Gallia County native Wise graduated in 2012 with a bachelors’ degree in early elementary education and now teaches at Meigs Primary School in Middleport. She said she encourages all the graduates to follow their dreams and strive to reach their goals in life.
“I believe that we all have a ‘big dream’ in our hearts. It is our one, true passion in life and it’s that ‘something’ we can really envision ourselves doing. However even when the opportunity presents itself, people often turn their big dream down in order to not risk leaving their comfort zone, but I want to encourage you today to go for it. I want you to envision a life that you love and stop at nothing to achieve it,” Wise said. “Because in life, obstacles cannot stop you, your circumstances cannot stop you, not even other people can stop you. You are the only one who can stop you from achieving your dreams.”
Provost Dr. Richard Sax said the class has made a lasting impression on Rio and hopes they continue to be influential members of society wherever their lives may take them.
“As we end the 140th Commencement at Rio Grande, I am pleased to reflect on the knowledge and skill sets we have endeavored to develop in our graduates. The faculty have savored our multiple interactions with, and mentorship of, 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 competencies, but also with the passion to being sensitive to the voids and needs of this world — — then answering the opportunity to be of use in addressing those voids and needs for many decades to come.”
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist with the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.