PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Over 530 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 32nd annual Fall Commencement ceremony.
For 42-year-old Amy Harrison of Toledo, a criminal justice technology major, Fall Commencement represents the start of new career aspirations within the field of law enforcement.
“I always had an interest in law enforcement and decided it was time to go back to school and pursue my passion,” explained Harrison, who has been working in accounting for the past 20 years. “Graduating with my degree in criminal justice is a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Harrison, an Honors graduate, added, “I have learned so much during my time at Owens. There are so many great people who have helped me get to where I am today. I am extremely thankful and excited to begin my new law enforcement career as a dispatcher.”
Washington Court House resident Adam Wickensimer views his graduation from Owens as the first step in his educational journey as the 28-year-old intends to now pursue his bachelor’s degree in business through a unique articulation partnership between Owens and Ohio University.
“Every moment is significant in life and graduating from Owens is certainly a significant moment,” stated Wickensimer, an Honors Program Scholar as well as a published poet and a military veteran. “I eventually want to attend law school with the goal of serving as an advocate for the disadvantaged and minorities.”
Dr. Katherine Fell, President of The University of Findlay, served as the keynote speaker for the College’s Fall Commencement and provided the graduates with some words of encouragement as they begin the next stage of their lives.
“Graduates, I am honored to be here with you. I know that the faculty and staff of Owens Community College have prepared you well,” stated Fell. “In fact, I make some assumptions about you because you are graduating from this highly respected college: I assume that you are self-disciplined, curious about the world around you, and ready to begin, on this commencement day, the next stage of your education, whether that be pursuing another degree or learning on the job as you start a new career.”
Additionally, Chelsey McMillan, a registered nursing student, was selected as the Owens class representative and addressed the graduates during Fall Commencement ceremony.
McMillan’s speech highlighted the challenges she and the other graduates encountered on their own personal journeys.
“As I look out into this crowd, I know that each of us, however different we may seem or look, are all similar because we have all encountered obstacles and tragedies that made our goals seem impossible to reach,” stated the Monroe, Mich., resident. “I want to let you know that I am so proud of each and every one of you for possessing the courage and persistence to not give up on your dreams in times of hardship, but instead to excel and accomplish a major milestone.”
She added, “Congratulations on reaching such an incredible accomplishment. I wish you all the best of luck and may each of your personal journeys lead you to a world of success and happiness in your future careers.”
McMillan began her educational journey at Owens in January 2011 after working toward a nursing degree at another college.
“Right away at Owens, I noticed a supportive environment. I felt like the faculty wanted to see you succeed,” explained the 22-year-old.
In addition to the honor of being selected to represent her class, McMillan holds a 4.0 grade-point average at Owens and enjoys running marathons in her personal time.
She credits her success to the support and love of her family, as well as her boyfriend, Drew, and his family. She would like to thank the nursing faculty for its support, especially Julie Lohse, who McMillan described as her constant cheerleader.
After graduation, McMillan, a 2008 Jefferson High School graduate, envisions working as an Obstetrics Nurse and plans on pursuing her bachelor’s degree and eventually becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife or a Nurse Practitioner.
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.