By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Cheers and applause echoed at the Brushfork National Guard Armory Saturday as friends, family and faculty honored more than 375 students during Bluefield State College’s spring commencement ceremony.
Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, keynoted the commencement exercises and stressed the importance of life-long learning.
“Education is the key to success and to a richer, fuller life,” Hill said. “It provides the means to think critically. Graduates, you now have the potential to go forward. Success requires hard work and perseverance. The education you have received at Bluefield State College has prepared you for today’s workforce. Your education will open doors for you for the rest of your life. When you began your college career, you made the decision to turn challenge into a way to grow. Your education gives you the opportunity to learn not just about the world, but also about yourself.”
The spring commencement ceremony was the first for Bluefield State President Dr. Marsha Krotseng since she was selected to head the college last fall.
“There’s a special sense of excitement associated with Bluefield State College’s 118th commencement ceremony — my first at the college,” she said. “I’m very proud of each member of Bluefield State College’s class of 2013. These graduates came to the college with high expectations and determination to reach their goal of a college degree, and they’ve succeeded. When our students succeed, all of us at Bluefield State share a part of that success. I join our graduates, their families, and friends in celebrating this important milestone in their lives. Like our graduates from previous years, they will go on to accomplish great things.”
During her address, Krotseng encouraged graduates to use their knowledge for the benefit of their communities.
“We are confident that you go forth from here well prepared to make meaningful and substantial contributions to the community, region, society and your profession,” Krotseng. “Education is something that no one can take away from you. Use your education as a springboard to reach for and achieve your dreams; serve others, your community, your nation and the world; and make a positive difference. Dare to be great and never accept anything less.”
Jim Nelson, director of media relations at Bluefield State College, said 377 students were awarded 393 degrees during the ceremony. Nelson said some students had earned multiple degrees during their studies including 11 students who earned two degrees, one student who attained three degrees, and one student who earned four degrees. Nelson said the school’s youngest graduate was 19 while the eldest to receive a diploma at age 61.
Nelson said four students were honored as valedictorians for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average including Angela Akers, Scott Harris, Sheila Hughes and Alex Ledgerwood.
— Contact Kate Coil at email@example.com