WHEELING - A retiring and longtime West Liberty University educator urged graduating students May 7 to continue their pursuit for learning and self-improvement - especially when it comes to language skills.
"What if President John F. Kennedy had said, 'Ask not ... like ... what your country can do for you. OK, but what, like, you know, you can do for your country?'" said John P. McCullough, presently the vice president, provost and chief administrative officer at WLU. "Absolutely, it loses something."
WLU graduated 294 students during ceremonies on campus at the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex. McCullough retires from the school with the end of this academic semester after 40 years at WLU, beginning there in 1971. WLU President Robin Capehart said McCullough will remain with the school on a part-time basis on a consulting basis, and serve as a special executive assistant to president. Capehart praised McCullough as an educator, a friend, and as someone with a quick wit and sense of humor.
McCullough began by telling the graduates a month ago when he was asked to speak at commencement, he told university officials four other conditions would have to be met first: Britain's Prince William would have to marry his longtime love Kate Middleton, the Cleveland Indians would have to have the best record in baseball, the WLU men's basketball team would have to win more than 30 games; and lastly, American forces would have to find Osama Bin Laden.
"Well, I'm here," he quipped.
McCullough said he had once been a young person who consumed pizza and burgers, who progressed on to pizza as a young adult, and then on to hypertension. He termed himself now "the poster child for Viagra and Depends."
"Just kidding - it only gets better," he told the graduates. "In truth it can get better if you continue your commitment to life-long learning and self-improvement. There's always room for improvement."
McCullough encouraged them to work on their math and literary skills, as well as their ability to think logically.
"Even old cats like me can improve their technical skills," he said.
Local West Liberty University graduates are:
Colliers: Alicia Kay Angelo, Malina A. Colalella, Kelcey M. Mazzella, Jeffrey Michael Rice, Brittany Nicole Sabo.
Follansbee: Marissa Dawn Morgan, Brittany Nicole Pearson, Tiffany Nicole Pearson, Mara Leigh Pranzarone, Jarred D. Riccadonna, James E. Rowing, Stephanie N. Silver, Timothy J. Starr.
Weirton: Sarah Ann Ashraf, Stacie JoAnn Bernardi, Michael Anthony Buffo, Alicia Dawn Evkovich, Angela Nichelle Gregory, Michael J. Hardy, Robert E. Littleton, Kathrine A. Marshall, Rachel Lauren McGrogan, Barbara Jean Rice, Amanda Leigh Soplinski, Sara Elizabeth Wargacki, John D. Wyatt.
Wellsburg: William M. Ferda Jr., Erika L. Furioli, Brandi L. Hascak, Matthew J. Hazel, Patricia C. Marker, Kayla A. Mazzella, Joshua Alan McGowan, Rachael E. Sperlazza, Richard Linwood Whitehead.
West Liberty: Ashlee T. Bearden-Speck, Kristin L. DeWitt, Andrew D. Koontz.
Windsor Heights: Larry Arthur Hundagen.