ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio - Ohio University's Eastern Campus honored graduates, scholarship recipients, and student leaders at the Honors and Recognition Convocation Friday evening at the Health and Physical Education Center in St. Clairsville.
Campus Dean Richard Greenlee, welcomed the graduates and honorees, and was followed by the student speaker, Ms. Kristina Velkovich, and the keynote speaker, Mr. L. Kenneth Steiner Jr.
"A college graduation ceremony is an important rite of passage into the world," said Greenlee, "one in which few people in southeastern Ohio ever get the opportunity to achieve. These students, who sit before you, are a very special group of people, of whom we can all be exceedingly proud. I would like to personally thank the parents, spouses and friends, who supported our students throughout the years, to help them achieve their dreams."
St. Clairsville’s Kayla McGinness is congratulated by Ohio University Eastern Dean Rich Greenlee on receiving a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies at the Honors and Recognition Convocation held Friday evening at OUE’s Health and Physical Education Center.
Velkovich, a member of the 2013 graduating class, was honored by Greenlee for overcoming a personal tragedy, for being a member of the first class to graduate with a bachelor's of science in social work, and for her high level of involvement on campus.
Velkovich's leadership activities included serving as student ambassador for the Ohio Board of Regents, president of the Rotaract Club for two years, member of the OUE basketball team for two years and captain for two, student manager of the campus fitness center for five years and parish organist at St. Mary's Church. Velkovich's Lady Panthers hoisted four consecutive championship banners during her remarkable basketball career.
"Five years ago, I was merely a young and quiet 17-year-old, eagerly awaiting high school graduation and ready to begin the next chapter in my life," said Velkovich. "I had no idea that I was about to face the biggest obstacle in my life. Losing my dad was truly a life-changing experience that still has an impact on me today. I found out that life is about overcoming obstacles, discovering what makes you happy and living your passion to the fullest each day."
Velkovich then remarked about the many improvements that have taken place during her time at OUE. "The vast expansion of involvement opportunities combined with the renovations of the Learning Commons, the student services suite and the fitness center have greatly enhanced the overall student experience," she said. "The student clubs, theater department and athletics have built a reputation for excellence benefitting our campus community and the entire Ohio Valley."
Velkovich also conveyed the high quality and overall value of OUE to the audience. "The advantages of being able to graduate from Ohio University while attending OUE are endless. I was able to save thousands of dollars in tuition, graduate debt free and develop a deeper relationship with the faculty. The professors are not only teachers in the classroom but are also looked upon as life mentors who are willing to support the students in any way possible. For that, I personally am truly grateful."
Velkovich concluded, "I am going forward tonight as an Ohio University alumna with the confidence, determination and responsibility to serve others and make a real difference. I could not have reached this point without the tremendous support of my mother, Lynn, my family, Dean Greenlee, Dr. Warren Galbreath, Coach E. J. Schodzinski, my classmates and friends. I thank each of you and will always remember your support and love."
Steiner Jr. attended Ohio University Eastern for two years before relocating to Athens and graduating with a bachelor's degree in education. He went on to earn a master's degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Dayton. He is currently a Guidance Counselor at Shadyside High School.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to come back home and speak here tonight," said Steiner Jr. "Reflecting back, I have spent the last 56 years in education, 17 as a student and 39 as an educator, yet the two years I spent at OUE stand out as two of the most meaningful for me. This was, in essence, the start to my career."
"I was very fortunate to attend OUE because I really needed those two years to grow, mature and prepare for life. OUE was like my family that helped to get me ready. I made decisions during those two years that shaped my life right up to today. In addition, many of the friends I have today are the friends that I made forty-?ve years ago right here at OUE."
Steiner Jr. continued, "When I attended OUE, it was considered a great place to start. Now, OUE is not only a great place to start, but also a great place to finish an Ohio University bachelor's degree. I have encouraged my high school students to come here for years. In the words of your school motto, I am always reminding them that you don't have to go away to go far!"
"You are just beginning with an unlimited future ahead of you. I hope that as you leave OUE, that you have many of the same feelings and memories that I do. Good luck to all of you as you begin another chapter in your life. You have a wonderful foundation on which to build and you will do well."
Greenlee concluded the ceremony by congratulating this year's candidates on earning their Ohio University degrees. "I feel confident that we are sending the graduates into the world inspired to make a difference and with more courage and confidence than when they came through the doors a few short years ago. Congratulations to all of you on a job well done."
OUE Honors & Recognition Convocation 2013
2013 Outstanding Bachelor of Arts Student - Alyssa Hines
2013 Outstanding Communication Studies Student - Taylor Tirpak
2013 Outstanding Early Childhood Education Student - Kaila Ruminski
2013 Outstanding Exercise Physiology Student - Jonathan Ebbert
2013 Outstanding History Student - Jessica Dobbs
2013 Outstanding Social Work Student - Leann Vincenzo
2013 Outstanding Specialized Studies Student - Leanne Keller
2013 Outstanding Technical and Applied Studies Student - Randall Proffitt
Associate in Arts
Erica Barath, Trevor Bigler, Robert Campbell, Stephanie Clark, Jason Garczyk, Jennifer Haren, Eve Lindamood, Miranda Ronevich, Stephanie Shively, Taylor Tirpak (Magna cum laude)
Associate in Science
Sarah Anderson (Cum laude), Jessie Feiock, Brea Knight, Kayla McGinness
Bachelor of Arts
Jerry Brown, Jessica Dobbs (Cum laude), Alyssa Hines (Cum laude), Charles Sempkowski, Carl Smith III (Cum laude)
Bachelor of Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science in Applied Management
Stacy Battles, Stephen Bossell, Lace French (Magna cum laude), Michael Fuscardo, Jennifer Haren, Eve Lindamood, Benee Marinacci, Gunner Rea (Summa cum laude), Christina Wilson
Bachelor of Science in Communication
Robert Campbell, Taylor Tirpak (Magna cum laude), Chase Tucker, Tina Vigoffi
Bachelor of Science in Education
Amanda Adams, Emily Anderson, Sarah Anderson (Cum laude), Melanie Beeson (Magna cum laude), Lacey Bender, Megan Campbell, Zach Delman, Nicole Fletcher (Cum laude), Jordan Ford, Terrie Gaston (Cum laude), Amanda Glasure, Jessica Graham, Lee Hines, Melanie Knox, Jennifer Kourim (Cum laude), Amanda Lewis, Susan Mc Peek (Cum laude), Maggie O'Dell, Heather Palmer (Cum laude), Natalie Perzanowski (Cum laude), Autumn Pittman (Cum laude), Chelsea Roth, Kaila Ruminski (Summa cum laude), Lauren Sable, Abagale Schrickel-Sempkowski,Kody Skinner, Stephanie Sommers, Rachel Stuart, Jason Tazar (Magna cum laude), Kasey Wharton, Zane Wilson (Magna cum laude)
Bachelor of Science in Health
Cavin Bell, Debra Bianconi, Trevor Bigler, Tabitha Bozenske, Nikole Case, Jennifer Eddy, Mallory Epperson, Samantha Habig, Krista Hancher-Palmer, Kara Hunker, Jessica Vargo, Stevie Young
Bachelor of Science in Physiology of Exercise
Nicholas Arnold, Allison Doan, Jonathan Ebbert (Magna cum laude), Kylee Gilham, Brianne Lucas (Cum laude), Landyn Lucas, David Neavin (Cum laude), Joshua Ralston, Karlen Vinci
Bachelor of Social Work
Tasha Headley (Cum laude, Social Work Honorary), Nichole Hudson (Social Work Honorary), Stephanie Stewart (Social Work Honorary), Kristina Velkovich, Leann Vincenzo (Cum laude)
Bachelor of Specialized Studies
Jessica Crawford, Anita Curry (Magna cum laude), Breeze Harper, Carrie Kleeh, Kylee Longevitch, Kayla McGinness, Angela Rizzo, Samantha Robson, Natalie Silverio, Chace Smith
Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies
Charles Masters, James McMahan Jr., Randall Proffitt