PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Over 800 Owens Community College students recently realized their educational goals and dreams as they were awarded degrees in various academic disciplines during the academic institution’s 46th annual Spring Commencement ceremony.
For 57-year-old Geraldine Davis of Toledo, an English major, Spring Commencement represents a new beginning and an aspiring career as an author.
“My college education has been a huge lift to my confidence and has made me a better writer,” stated Davis, whose first novel titled “Suspended” is set to debut in July.
Davis, an Honors Scholar and the primary caretaker as a grandmother of six children, added, “Graduating from Owens means achievement and accomplishment. I never thought that graduating from college was a possibility several years ago. Now at the age of 57, I can say that anything is possible.”
According to mathematics major Andrew Hartke of Oregon, obtaining his associate’s degree is the first step toward the career goal of becoming an educator in higher education.
“I am very excited about the first step in my educational journey,” stated the 30-year-old Hartke, who has also helped his fellow students in their educational pursuits as a peer mentor, tutor and supplemental instruction leader. “Walking across the stage and receiving my college degree is very special and something that was far from my mind when I was a retail manager. Now, I have my associate’s degree and look forward to continuing my education at Bowling Green State University.”
Owens diagnostic medical sonography graduate Cortney Missler, age 21, is ready to embark on a new career as a sonographer, a field and career she first envisioned entering at a very young age.
“My aunt is a sonographer and graduated from the same Owens program,” explained the Toledo resident, who also achieved the program’s Outstanding Sonography Student Award. “I always wanted to be a sonographer and now I have reached my goal. Graduation is a huge accomplishment.”
Andrea Price, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercy, Northern Region, served as the keynote speaker for the College’s Spring Commencement and shared some words of advice and encouragement for the graduating class with the overall theme of becoming societal contributors.
“Success is not only measured by the difference that you make, but also by the determination that it takes,” said Price. “You have the same number of hours in every day as Edison, Lincoln, Galileo, Mother Theresa, Thoreau, King, da Vinci, Mandela and Einstein. The world needed them. The world needs you. Make every minute count.”
Additionally, Loral Browning, known as Mike to his friends and family, was selected as the Owens class representative and addressed the graduates during the Spring Commencement ceremony.
The 59-year-old Toledo resident earned his associate’s degree in marketing and sales technology with a financial services sales option. Prior to enrolling at Owens, Browning was employed in the food industry as a distributor for 38 years. He never missed a paycheck until 2010, when he lost his job.
Browning shared with his fellow graduates how Owens has given him many opportunities, new friends and a new start in life.
“Your choices have been superior up to this point. That is why you are here,” explained Browning. “Lean on the friends you have made, your family, your advisors and faculty. They will help you make the right choices for the future. Many of you will be getting new jobs. Many of you will go on in school. I wish you well with whatever path you take.”
In addition to the honor of being chosen to address the graduating class, Browning, a 1971 Start High School graduate, achieved a 3.8 grade point average and is a member of the Kappa Beta Delta and Chi Alpha Epsilon national honor societies. He also served as a student representative of Owens on an international study tour to China in May 2011.
He credits his success to the support and encouragement of the faculty and staff at Owens, including Holly Burnside, Jeffrey Hardesty and Ramadevi Kannan. The support of his family was also a critical part of his educational success, including his wife, Donna, who pushed him to make sure his homework was finished, and his sons, Michael, Brian, Chad and Chris.
When Browning, who also is a grandfather, began his studies at Owens, he never thought his educational path would end with an associate’s degree. He soon found that Owens and a college education was much more than he ever envisioned and that he was excited about the possibility of learning something new every day.
As a result, Browning intends on continuing his studies after graduation and transferring to a four-year institution to continue working toward his bachelor’s degree in business. Ultimately, his goal is to work within the areas of sales or management.
Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.