“I’m not going to trip. I’m excited, and it’s over,” were the thoughts of Olivia Moe as she crossed the stage to receive her diploma. Moe, along with 1,759 other graduates, collected their degrees and certificates during Lorain County Community College’s 52nd annual commencement ceremony on May 14, 2016.
The ceremony began with a welcome from retiring LCCC president, Dr. Roy Church, who had a unique invitation for the graduating students before him.
“Before we get too far in today’s celebration,” Church said, “I know there is something we all want to do. I know most of us have a phone with us and we’re all excited to mark this day with the indisputable proof that we were all here – the selfie,” he said, as he encouraged students to pull out their cell phones and snap a quick picture to share on social media.
“Earlier this morning, I snapped a selfie with the district board of trustees and the other platform guests. I mean, this is my last chance – I had to capture this moment,” Church stated as his selfie appeared on the projection screens on either side of the stage.
The theme of this year’s ceremony was ‘leadership’, a theme that weaved its way through Church’s opening remarks.
“All of the graduates here today have shown dedication and persistence by getting to this point and earning a degree. In your hard work, you’ve given others someone to look up to and proven to yourself that you can set a goal and achieve it,” Church remarked. “Whether you realize it or not, you are all leaders here today, lighting a path to a brighter future.”
“I think it’ll be different. Being older and wiser – it’ll be better,” said graduate Ta’nija Drummer, when she thinks of the possibility of attending Cleveland State University this fall. Drummer, who earned both her associate’s of arts and associate’s of science, said that LCCC played a big role in preparing her for her future, mainly through the Early College High School program.
Dr. Marcia Ballinger, LCCC’s current provost and vice president for academic and learner services and incumbent president, was the event’s keynote speaker.
“16 years ago today, I sat where you are sitting today,” said Ballinger, who received her master’s degree in business administration from the University Partnership program.
“Somehow I managed to multitask and prioritize – just like all of you here today. You have overcome countless barriers to reach this milestone moment in your life and I, for one, could not be more proud,” she told the graduates.
Ballinger concluded with words of encouragement for the class of 2016. “Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it,” she said. “Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it. Never tell yourself you missed your chance. Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough. There is still time left. You can do it, whatever
it is,” Ballinger commented.
Included in this year’s class were 1,460 LCCC graduates, 300 University Partnership graduates, and 64 Early College High School graduates.
“I’ve grown so much,” said Moe, who will be attending Cleveland State University this fall to study film and television production. “I’m looking forward to the next step.”