OUE honors graduates and guests

GRADUATES — Exercise physiology graduates Sally Piazza of Rayland, left, Robert Boyd of Dillonvale and Lauren Swiger of Tiltonsville share a moment before the Ohio University Eastern graduation ceremony on Friday.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Ohio University’s Eastern Campus honored graduates, student leaders and special guests at the honors and recognition convocation Friday evening at the campus’ Health and Physical Education Center.

Eastern Campus Dean Bob Klein offered the welcome and was followed by the student speaker, Brooke Robinson, and keynote speaker, Sean Patterson.

“I love this time of year,” Klein exclaimed. “There is nowhere else I want to be tonight than right here, celebrating with you. So many moments of fortune and devotion have made it possible for us to be present with each other here tonight. It is truly a special evening.”

Robinson, a member of the 2019 graduating class, earned a 3.65 grade-point average and graduated cum laude with a double major in communication studies and applied management. She also earned an associate’s degree in specialized studies with a concentration in health and wellness.

Patterson graduated from Steubenville High School in 1990. He earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology and criminology from Ohio University in 1996 and obtained a master’s degree in justice administration from Tiffin University in 2007.

“As a proud graduate of Ohio University, I am humbled to be standing before you this evening. Growing up 30 minutes away, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to come back to be a part of such an important day,” Patterson said.

“Looking back, I can vividly remember my experiences at the Eastern Campus, which included the drive to and from class each day, the opportunity to play basketball, my friends and teammates, and the professors that I had the chance to learn from. Thank you Michael McTeague, Patrick Wood and coach Jay Morris for making me believe that I belonged here on this college campus. You gave me the confidence and helped me to find my voice as a student and as an individual.”

Patterson then spoke directly to the graduating class.

“Life is an autobiography. So, take your pen, and write your own story. Chart your own course and don’t stop until you reach your destination. Be careful not let to let anyone, or anything, lead you off course. Others can and should be able to offer guidance and assistance, but always remember that you are the one in control of your own life.”

“Second, always remember the ‘Three C’s of Life:’ Choices, chances, and changes. You must make a choice, to take a chance, to change your life. About nine years ago, I made a choice to help with a donation drive for the homeless. The next thing I knew, I was a team captain and our group collected 25 survival kits and sleeping bags for the cause.”

“This success gave me the confidence to take a chance and start a nonprofit. I created The 411 Foundation in memory of my father, who was only 4-foot-11. Today, the 411 Foundation is active in the community and across the country providing survival kits and blessing bags to the homeless. We also provide Christmas presents to families in need, Thanksgiving baskets, clothes to adults and children, life skills classes, school supplies, and we serve lunch at the Ronald McDonald House every other month. We are making a change in our community.”

“In 2013, I made the choice to sign up as a possible bone marrow donor for an office co-worker in need. Unfortunately, I was not a match, but I did get a call the following year as I was a match for a nine-year-old little girl. In that moment, I made another choice and took the chance to undergo surgery to donate bone marrow and make a change in the life of that little girl. With every opportunity, I make choices, to take chances, to make changes, and I believe I have written a decent story for myself. I will never stop writing my story because no one can write it better than me.”

“So, as you start this next chapter of your life, make a choice to go out there and find your passion. Take the chance to do what you love and it will change your life in the most profound ways. It will also make your story very interesting. Your story is just beginning, so take hold of the pen and write each word with passion.”

Dan Milleson was honored as the recipient of the Austin C. Furbee award in recognition of outstanding contributions to Ohio University and the community.

Area graduates include:

Adena: Faith Barkhurst, Rachel Jane Zeroski.

Bergholz: Ian Porter.

Bloomingdale: Isaac Foldi.

Cadiz: Shelby Lynne Hoagland.

Dillonvale: Robert Boyd, Sophia Isiminger.

Rayland: James Colabelli, Sally Piazza.

Scio: Suzanne Stul.

Steubenville: Alec Byrley.

Tiltonsville: Samantha Clyde, Lauren Swiger.


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