PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Dec. 04, 2017 – 464 candidates for graduation, including 67 from the Findlay-area Campus, will receive their degrees during the 37th Owens Community College Fall Commencement on Friday, Dec. 08. Of those graduates, 90 will graduate with honors. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Health and Activities Center on the College’s Toledo-area Campus.
Kozait Elkhatib, Business Administration major graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors, has been selected as the Owens class representative and will address the graduates during the ceremony.
The 31-year-old native of Lebanon was born in a Palestinian refugee camp and lived there with her mother, older sister and younger brother until marrying her husband, U.S. Army veteran Talal Elkhatib, in March 2007. Their original wedding date in 2006 was postponed when the Israeli-Lebanese war broke out. They moved to the United States in April 2007 and began their life, starting a family which now includes two daughters, ages 9 and 6.
Elkhatib wanted to encourage her daughters to go to college when they were older, with the thought “education is not something we can be done with – you learn more every day.” She felt she needed to earn a degree first and enrolled at Henry Ford Community College when the family lived in Dearborn, Michigan. In 2016, the Elkhatibs moved to Perrysburg for Talal’s job at the Toledo Correctional Institution. She transferred her credits and enrolled at Owens.
“Owens felt like a family atmosphere. I love the classes. The teachers are wonderful. The same for the advisors. They respond in 24-48 hours. That’s important to me because I like to get things done,” she said.
A graduate of the Owens Honors Program, Elkhatib impressed with her presentation on Muslims in America at the Owens Honors and Service Learning Symposium and at the Mid-East Honors Association Symposium at Eastern Michigan University during Spring Semester 2017, according to Dr. Russ Bodi, Professor of English.
Added Jonathan Boyle, Adjunct Faculty in Business, “Kozait has proven herself to be an asset to the Owens Community College community. She is not only a scholar, but someone with an interesting life history.”
Earlier this year, Elkhatib started the process of becoming a U.S. citizen and it culminated in September when she was among 85 new citizens from 37 different countries naturalized at a ceremony at the University of Toledo.
In January, Elkhatib will begin a cohort program pursing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Managerial Studies at Tiffin University. She anticipates graduating in May 2019.
Away from college and family life, she works at New York Life Insurance Company in Maumee where she is a licensed insurance agent and will soon become a licensed financial advisor.
Jack Hershey is the president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), which represents the presidents and trustees of the state’s 23 community colleges), will serve as the keynote speaker.
Hershey came to the OACC in 2014 after spending 10 years at the Ohio State University, where he most recently was the university’s Associate Vice President for State Relations, a position in which he managed state government affairs for the university.
Earlier in his career, Hershey was deputy director of the Office of Budget and Management under former Gov. Bob Taft and was director of finance and a financial analyst in the Ohio House of Representatives under former Speaker Jo Ann Davidson.
A Cleveland-area native, Hershey holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Management from the University of Akron. He is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy Management from the Ohio State University. Hershey, his wife, Sharon, and their two children reside in the Columbus area.
Owens’ commencement ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information regarding Owens’ commencement ceremony, please visit www.owens.edu/commencement.