STEUBENVILLE - Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, told the college's Class of 2014 Saturday's commencement program "is a big deal for you. It's a door opener to your future."
But she added it's also a big deal for the college itself because they comprise the largest graduating class, with 358 members, in the Jefferson County campus' 45 years.
She said it was fitting that Edward Florak, the college's second president, returned to serve as keynote speaker because he led the former Jefferson Technical College in becoming a community college, expanding the number of students it may serve.
KNOWING ONE’S SELF — Ed Florak, president emeritus at Eastern Gateway Community College, encouraged the college’s Class of 2014, the largest in the Jefferson County campus’ 45 years, to study the behavior of others and their own. - Warren Scott
Meeks added Florak also led three levy campaigns that allowed the college to expand its facilities and services and was involved in the establishment of the Horizon Grant program, which has made two years' free tuition available to many eligible Jefferson County residents.
Florak told the Class of 2014 motivation to succeed in life and to have successful relationships lies within each individual.
He said Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychologist and Holocaust survivor, believed that a person's life is driven by his or her search for meaning. A licensed psychologist, Florak said key to that is studying the behavior of one's self and others.
"You have to learn about yourself, other people and how you interact or engage them," he said, adding they should learn about their behavioral styles and how others react to them.
"In pursuing your life mission, the better you understand yourself, one part of the prescription for living, and understand others, another part of the prescription for living, the better prepared you will be to manage yourself and participate in the interaction between the two," Florak said.
"Become more knowledgeable about behavior styles, which will help you manage yourself and engage others. Your life will take on added meaning if you develop purposes and plans, and above all I am convinced your character will come shining on through."
Florak added the graduates should consider what they want to accomplish in life and set a series of attainable goals to achieve that.
He said there's truth to the old adage, "By the yard, it's hard, but by the inch, it's a cinch."
Florak said good character isn't something possessed only by firefighters, soldiers and others recognized for heroism. It's something everyone should strive for, he said.
He recited Peter Dale Winbrow Sr.'s poem, "The Man in the Glass," which conveys the message that whatever success a person achieves, he must be able to look at himself in the mirror.
Meeks also acknowledged the retirements of Assistant Professor Anton Salinski, assistant professor of humanities and social sciences for nearly 10 years, and Gretchen Higgins McGuire, assistant professor of business technologies for 35 years.
Eastern Gateway Community College Class of 2014 area graduates are:
Adena: Megan Bowers, Elijah Foldi, Brian Potkoski.
Amsterdam: Landry Bendle, Issac Hacker, Jason Maney, Glen Reinhold.
Bergholz: Kathryn Crow, Robin McKee, Victoria Turnbull.
Bloomingdale: Troylynn Boggs, Mihaela Davis, Paul Gross, Kelsey Groves, Bonnie Hunt, Brandon Lanaghan, Elissa Lawrence, Dane Martin, Joshua Piofer, Rebecca Rice, Vonna Timcho.
Bowerston: Theodore Fisher.
Brilliant: Melissa Gates, Molly Hutton, Thomas Johnson, Carla Leasure, John Morris, Samantha Patterson, Tabitha Piko, Jacee Tester.
Cadiz: Jodi Ferguson, Edward Fisher, Megan Goodrich, Danielle Heckert, Edgar Quito, Zachary Rusen, Whitney Swearingen.
Carrollton: Joshua Richardson.
Dillonvale: Kaitlin McGuire, Ryan Omaits.
Hammondsville: Ashley Springer.
Hopedale: Jessica Donley, Stacy Muklewicz.
Irondale: Dustin Byers, David Mitchell, Emily Urich.
Jewett: Nicholas Parrish, Alanna Thompson.
Mingo Junction: Morgan Adkins, Tarra Allen, Jessica Bracone, Micayla Bryan, Nicholas Callahan, Chelsea Cozart, Jessica Drexler, Amanda Dyson, Stacey Eakle, Brad Ensell, Bridgette Forester, Mariah Giusto, Anna Krapa, Kayla Leasure, Amanda Leoni, Harley Moffo, April Richards, Shawn Roe, Amelia Smith, Shannon Talbott, Jenna Tate, Danielle Welling, Christopher Yarnevic.
Mount Pleasant: Jamie Holmes.
Rayland: Kyle Batenburg, Jarret Fuchs, Tia Moore, Marley Telek.
Richmond: Johnna Borden, Cassandra Chevalier, Shane DeFrank, Jennifer Duke, Mason Gambos, Anna Vankirk.
Scio: Nikkola Blumenschein, Natasha Dowdle, Heidi Forrester, Marcia Ward.
Steubenville: Emily Albaugh, Craig Anderson, Erik Ashmead, Matthew Bailey, Cody Billham, Aaron Bottegal, Lauren Bowman, Don Caldwell, Christopher Canyock, Brittany Cash, Zachary Chociej, Georged Davis, Karen Davis, Jacqueline Dean, Carmen Destefano, Courtney Eidle, Sara Evans, Brandy Francis, Melinda Freeman, Joseph Gamble, Lorraine Gamble, Michelle Ghrist, Jamar Harvey, Norm Hewitt, Virginia Hodges, Kealy Karas, Baylee Kennedy, Robert Kirkpatrick, Loree McCoy, Kristen McEndree, Jonathon Miller, Robert Mitchell, Michael Moore, Stewart Moore, Alexander Nagy, Stephanie Nicosia, Andrew Noble, Rachel Noble, Thomas Paidousis, Jennifer Parissi, Christopher Pierce, Alexandria Pool, Lucas Powell, LaTasha Rainbow, Sharnise Reynolds, Rachel Rheinhardt, Tyler Riggs, Shanna Roberts, Lacey Scott, Raelin Scurry, Alexandra Settepanella, Darla Simmons, Walter Simpson, Kacy Smith, Rebekah Smith, Ryan Smogonovich, Savannah Snyder, Taylor Stephen, Angelene Stout, Brianna Sybert, Morgan Talamine, Joseph Thomas, Katrin Thomas, Lisa Thomas, Renee Thompson, Jordan VanKirk, Susan Wells, Joy Wendt, Joshua White, Anita Williams, Juliet Wolfe, Jessica Zarisky, Zoe Zirille.
Stratton: Elizabeth Kennedy.
Tiltonsville: Justin Dombo, Robert Dyson.
Toronto: Joshua Bartlett, Megan Bates, Chad Bigler, Crystal Barcus, Jesse Duke, Ashley Grimm, Jacob Haught, Jeremiah Horkulic, Melissa Jack, Christina Kelley, Jennifer Liddick, Luke Martaus, Ryne McClelland, Dakota McGrew, Jalissa Miller, Travis Miller, Morgan Millhorn, Trevor Murray, Megan Myer, Kerri Peterson, Kirk Piatt, Traci Piatt, Nicholas Reese, Joel Robertson, Michael Roche, Bryce Satkowski, Lara Shultz, Lou Smith, Jeffrey Spring, Maryanna Sutton, Preston Sutton, Jeanelle Tice, Lino Tizziani, Ashley Turner, Kevin Walker, Nolan Wilson.
Wellsville: Daniel Alford, Taylor Greathouse, Rilee Livolsi, Roxanne Lucas, Erin Mick.
Wintersville: Brittany Allen, Dominique Baker, Jeffrey Beany, Alexander Bodnar, Arthur Brothers, Morgan Coulter, William Courtney, Jesse DellaPenna, Shannon Ditter, Julie Gale, Harley Gamble, Adam Geer, Rebecca Goedert, Kyle Gump, Amanda Haspel, Sheena Hayes, Mary Helt, Deborah Hiles, Arlene Howard, Megan Hukill, Erica Johnson, Kaitlin Leas, Kaitlin Nesbitt, Terrance O'Brien, James Pegnalitti, Ivy Reeves, Katelyn Sheftick, Ashley Shimko, Alexander Soltis, Brooke Stevenson.
Burgettstown: Carly Orion, Olivia Thorp.
Bethany: Nicolette Ayers.
Chester: Darci Smith, Adam Yeater.
Colliers: Justin Coen.
Follansbee: Mark Fitzpatrick, Abigail McAllister, Sarah Quattrochi, Justin Riggs.
New Cumberland: Britny Colvin, Angela Henson, Kiley McDowell, Christina Vick.
Weirton: Cody Baker, Anna Cain, James Dehner, Kevan LaPosta, Brittany Minor, Teresa Owen, Jeanine Shumway.
Wellsburg: Matthew Fadse, Kyle Woods.