STEUBENVILLE -Friends family, faculty and fellow students turned out for Eastern Gateway Community College's 43rd annual commencement exercises Saturday on campus.
The ceremony included pomp and circumstance as well as speeches and musical selections, all geared toward honoring the 278 graduates of the Class of 2012 - the largest graduating class in the college's history. Graduates filed in, following the McDonald Pipe Band of Pittsburgh bagpipe trio to their seats.
Jim Baber, EGCC executive vice president for academic and student services, welcomed those gathered to witness the event, after which Alexis Withers, EGCC Phi Theta Kappa president, recited the invocation. Beth Ruppert-Warren sang the Star-Spangled Banner, after which Laura Meeks, college president, congratulated graduates and wished them well.
"I thank God for the sun shining on the Eastern Gateway grounds," said Meeks, who also thanked educators for preparing graduates for the special day. "We have 278 graduates here from ages 18 to 69. It hasn't been an easy two years for them because of all the change. Even the name of the college changed."
Meeks concluded by saying she was proud the college has been recognized as "veteran-friendly."
"We hope you liked learning, liked Eastern Gateway and continue learning," Meeks concluded. "We do treasure our investment in you."
The Gem City Brass Sextet performed selections before guest speaker Joseph Hamrock, Wintersville resident and executive vice president for NiSource Inc., gave graduates pause to think about what they will need to be successful in their future.
"Life-long learning is the key to sustained success," said Hamrock, adding technology in every field was changing at "warp speed. This world feels like a much smaller place today."
Hamrock also said success today means thinking globally because of the competition, including in the labor pool.
"Put simply, we must keep learning," he said, adding both professional and personal relationships were important for success. "(You must be willing) to try new things, especially those out of your comfort zone."
Challenging weaknesses and utilizing strengths also play into success, Hamrock added.
"Your relationships matter," said Hamrock. "Today it can feel we are in a sea of 7 billion global citizens."
Interconnecting and forming lasting personal and professional relationships were ways to keep a step ahead of competitors, said Hamrock.
"You never will know when the bridges you've built will lead to opportunities," he said.
Recognition of academic excellence and distribution of diplomas and certificates followed.
Area EGCC graduates are:
Amsterdam - John B. Kulin Jr.
Bergholz - Amanda Lee Fenstermaker, Stephanie Porter, Vanessa Stacey, Shelby Lynn Stone.
Bloomingdale - Bruce Barnett, Casey Bittner, Crystal Davis, Martariesa Marleen Fiala, Ian Marshall, Melinda Kay Miller, Rebecca Carol Miller, Ian M. Myers, Carol A. Painter, Blake R. Webber.
Brilliant - Samuel James Clark, Kelly Sutphin.
Cadiz - Julie A. Byers, Travis Michael Jenkins, John Andrew Nice, Edgar Vinicio Quito, Christina S. Rose, Brittny L. Saffell.
Carrollton - Samantha Jo Howell.
Connorville - Robert Eugene Banyas.
Dillonvale - Jacqueline Lana Fitts, Wm Scott Kerkuta, Natasha Riley, Amber Wanat.
Freeport - Daniel R. Abrams.
Harrisville - Chelsey McAngues.
Hopedale - Amanda Kaye Moro, Mary-Kay Elizabeth Trice.
Irondale - Michele Beraducci, Patrick W. Kelley Jr., Danell Lynn Plunkett.
Jewett - Kimberly Dulkoski, Julia R. Orr, Jessica Lyn Thompson, Todd W. Triplett.
Mingo Junction -Valerie L. Arnold, Steven P. Barkoci, Derek William Costlow, James Joseph DiBenedetto, Patricia Marie Dunburg, Pamela S. Edwards, Deidra D. Goode, Ashley Renee Kerr, Molly Anne Kirwin, DeAnna Konick, Ashley Nicole Shepard, Caleb Jon-Curtis Shepard, Brian Lee Snider, Kylie Sturtevant.
Rayland - Ricky Gene Crawford, Kimberly Critser, Laura Michele Eastham, Aaron McCoy, Christopher D Neavin, Stan Rusnak Jr., Matthew J. Striffler, Timothy Charles Telek.
Richmond - Jessica D. Argentine, Vickie Bourgeois Kmaur, Rebecca Ferguson, Ethan Roger Hilliard, Brady W Householder Sr., Robert Kirkpatrick, Michaela Ann Kustrin, Hannah Lyn Putnam, Emily Lucille Ramsey, Laura Jean Sabedra Norris, Katelynn R. Schmitt, Dustin VanFossen, Zachary David Vankirk, Joshua E. Williams, Dalton H. Wood.
Salineville - Katlyn Leann VanDyne.
Scio - Alicia D. Lawver, Chelsea McConnell, Elizabeth Lee Phillips, Teresa Scott.
Smithfield - Carrissa Lynne Casto, Carole A. Gunn, Joshua Meeks
Steubenville - Jessica N. Acantilado, Epule Ajebe, Buster W. Bowman, Kimberly J. Branch, Raeann Brynza, Karla J. Deah, Nichelle Renee Dokes, Monique Annette Doward, Sherean Lee Dudley, Dustin Patrik Eller, Chayna Ann Marie Engel, Susanne Curn Escobar, John Gale, Jennifer Elizabeth Geary, Dawn Gombar, Brett Henry, Corey James Hoover, Jessica Marie Horkulic, Meghann Anne Hupp, Ashauntia Jeter, Austin William Jones, Lucas Jones, Thomas W. Jones, Rachelle C. Keblitis, Kristin Lynn Keener, Daniel M. Kelly, Mary J. Kirkpatrick, Richard Koh, Ariana Langley, Wendy G. Lawlor, Duane Love Sr., Susan Ann Mansfield, Cynthia Marker, James Milosevich, Donna Ann Moore, Charmayne Lanette Morgan, Jenna M. Morris, Jennifer Lynn Mueller, Kevin James Nay, Megan M. Panyi, Sheryl R. Petteway, Lindsey N. Porreca, Lorrie A. Raymond, Sarah J. Reese, Emily Russell, Paige Nicole Samoviski, LaShanda Renee Shackleford, Mary A. Shoup, Florence E. Sims, Vanessa K. Sizemore, Jaric Slappy, Matthew R. Smith, Renee Tedreau, Adam Trifonoff, Charlynn Nicole Wade, JoAnn Wardeska, KaQuitta Williams, Kevin Alan Williams, Alesia Ann Withers, Morgan Nicole Wood, Ashley N. Woods, Antonette M. Wright.
Stratton - Leah Meadows.
Tiltonsville - Anita Cunningham, William A. Webnar.
Toronto -Taylor Elizabeth Abdalla, Laycee Marie Alban, Richard Ellison Coburn, Chad Diar, James Dean Groves, Christopher Richard Haught, Hillary E. Jones, Gregory E. Keenan, Emily Jane Leasure, Kourtnie Lynn Leggett, Robert Alex Lewis, Andrea Lynn Lucas, Nicholas Hazlett Lukacena, Kayla Elizabeth McCabe, Joseph E. McGuire, David L. Miller, Jalissa Miller, Roger Eric Miller, Sherrie L. Myers, Cordelia M. Roth, James R. Seroke, Kayla Stewart, Danielle Lee Sutherin, Ryan Trent Taylor, Aubraney Renea Thompson, Rachel Ann Thorne, Lino J. Tizziani, Dusty R. Wade, Maria Kay Warren, Crystal Lynn Wells, Ciarra D. Wilson, Aidan Keith Tarce Zamborsky.
Wellsville - Scott Randall Brown, Ashley R. Clendenning, Janess Howard, Tyler James Kelly, Monica Plunkett, Haylie R. Tedeschi, Jonathan P. Williams, Kelley Wright.
Wintersville - Ryan Elliott Barrett, Lisamarie Birtel, Jamin Thomas Bourne, Chalisa Renae Cook, James Christopher Cook, Dawn D'Andrea, Heather N. Dutton, Ryan James Hollen, Derek J. Jancart, Rodney D. Kiefer, Jessica Nichole Kirkpatrick, Karen Ann McGraw, Kristin Melton, J.J. Mitchell, Kayla J. Montgomery, Danielle Elainia Burke Reed, Moira Mackay Ritchie, Don Roe, Steven Douglas Sagun, Jamie Lynn Stanley, Aaron Joseph Straney, Kevin Shane Sweeney, Randi Truax, Laura A Walker-Pergi, Brian Williams.
Colliers - Michael Jay Clark Jr., Michael Jay Clark Sr.
Follansbee - Keith Kovach, Stephanie Renea Lawver, Shana Marie Mazza, Rachel A. Stoker, James A. Wilson.
New Cumberland - Britny Nichole Colvin.
New Manchester - Amanda Danielle Walden.
Newell - Mateo Fuentes, Leslie Bryana Norris.
Weirton - Deidre Joy Aracich, Anna Monica Cain, Randy William Flowers Jr., Robert P. Glover, Juliett D. Hamilton, Tierra M. Jones, Amanda M. Kyer, Robert Samuel Pulice, Melissa Marie Smith, Brianna Nicole Stefansky, Kristy Teller.
Wellsburg - Amanda J. Bateman, Lisa M. Black, David R. Burdette, Megan Corinn Caldwell, Laurie Kimble Dillie, Amy Doll, John Michael Falbo.
(Miller can be contacted at email@example.com.)