PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, May 5, 2014 –Seven hundred sixty-eight candidates for graduation, including 122 from the Findlay-area Campus, will receive their degrees during the 48th annual Owens Community College Spring Commencement on Friday, May 9. The commencement will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Health and Activities Center on the College’s Toledo-area Campus.
Owens’ commencement ceremony is free and open to the public. For family and friends unable to attend, the ceremony will be streamed online and can be accessed at www.owens.edu/commencement. Owens is asking graduates to share their celebration photos and updates by including the hashtag #owensgrad in their social media posts.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French will serve as the keynote speaker. For the past two decades, Justice French has dedicated her career to public service. In that time, she has served the State of Ohio as a lawyer for a state agency, an assistant attorney general, counsel to the Governor, and, finally, as a judge. In December 2012, Governor John Kasich appointed Justice French to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Ohio. She became the 155th justice of the Ohio Supreme Court on January 1, 2013.
A native of Sebring, Ohio, a small town in Mahoning County, she received three degrees from The Ohio State University: a B.A. in political science, an M.A. in history (with a concentration in military history and strategic studies), and a J.D., with honors. Justice French currently resides in Grandview Heights, near Columbus, with her husband and two children.
Lisa Long, an Early Childhood Education Technology major graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors, has been selected as the Owens class representative and will address the graduates during the ceremony.
The 30-year-old Fostoria resident is the first person from her family to both attend college and earn a college degree, Long’s journey to the Owens Community College Findlay-area Campus started in southern California, where she grew up in sunny San Diego. There, she met her future husband, Richard. They returned to Ohio in 2009 to be near Richard’s family and married in 2010. They now have two boys, ages 10 and 3.
In 2009, Long made the decision to pursue higher education at Owens and enrolled in Spring Semester 2010.
“I was working 3 minimum wage jobs and was a full-time mom. I was spending savings just to pay my own bills. I wasn’t making enough to live. I didn’t own a car,” she said of the life-changing moment when she decided to go to college. “I was riding on the bus with my son, singing the ABCs. I knew I couldn’t go on working these jobs and not being able to pay to live. I had to go to college. I figured out I wanted to be a teacher. The joy I had of being around my son, I wanted that all the time.”
“If you have to be away from your children, you want to do something that you love,” she said.
For more information regarding Owens’ commencement ceremony, please visit www.owens.edu/commencement.