Members of the 194th graduating class of OSU Institute of Technology gathered together Friday afternoon to mark one of the most important achievements of their lives. During the spring commencement ceremony, 242 graduates were congratulated on completing their degrees but also challenged to make the most of the education and experiences gained.
Dr. Bill Path, OSUIT President, recognized the graduates in front of their families, friends and honored guests, by first acknowledging their outstanding performance as a group. He explained 64.9% of the students in this class were graduating with honors, with 93 on the Registrar’s Honor Roll and 64 on the President’s Honor Roll.
“Such academic achievements do not come easily and deserve recognition,” said Path, “We celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of these exceptional students.”
Members of the graduating class received their associate and bachelor’s degrees from the divisions of Allied Health, Arts and Sciences, Construction Technologies, Culinary Arts, Heavy Equipment, Engineering Technologies, Information Technologies, Visual Communications and the College of Muscogee Nation.
Dr. Path introduced the commencement guest speaker, Amanda Cullum, by reminding the audience just three years prior, Amanda was sitting exactly where they were.
“We’re very proud of Amanda because she applied the skills learned here at OSUIT to immediately land a job with Chevron Corporation after graduation,” said Path. “She was originally hired as a Field Specialist and quickly promoted to Plant Specialist, then Electrical Instrumentation Specialist and now Automation Analyst. Her career is going exceptionally well.”
Cullum graduated from OSUIT in 2010 with a Bachelor of Technology in Instrumentation Engineering Technology. She remembered having an exhausting schedule while a student at OSUIT but remained commitment to finishing her degree to provide a better life for herself and her children.
“Despite the responsibilities that came with being a full-time student and a full-time mom, I found time to be active on campus as the president of the Instrumentation Systems and Automation Society as well as a member of Phi Theta Kappa,” said Cullum. “Somewhere along the way, college taught me that if I had the dedication and determination and took things one day at a time, I could accomplish anything.”
To conclude, she stated the complex and technical world we live in today requires the types of applied education they learned at OSUIT. Cullum challenged each of them to use their new skill-sets to improve their lives and society as a whole, to pay it forward and at the same time follow their own dreams. She remembered a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson from her own commencement ceremony, “Do not go where the path may lead you, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
“You are now armed with one of the most important tools needed to forge your path ahead,” said Cullum. “It’s not the diploma itself that counts the most, it’s about what lessons you’ve learned along the way and what you do with the education you’ve received on your journey to graduation. Your future is in your hands, no one else’s, so go seize your opportunities.”
The student respondent for the ceremony was Tami Jo Gorton, from Glenpool, graduating with an Associate Degree in Pre-Education Secondary with a 3.81 GPA. Tami was active in several student organizations and recently awarded the 2013 Newman Civic Fellows Award for her efforts to improve local communities.
Gorton reminded the graduates, “This is not the beginning for us but a launching point. We were all here working towards a common goal, to better ourselves.”
She encouraged her fellow graduates to do one thing every day that scares them, to learn something new every day and to make the most of their lives.
“There are so many opportunities waiting for each and every one of us,” said Gorton. “All you need to do is have the courage and the bravery to stand up and take hold of those moments before they pass you by.”