LIMA —Nearly 1,400 students of University of Northwestern Ohio graduated Sunday with some 1,700 degrees conferred.
“It’s probably our third largest graduating class,” UNOH President Dr. Jeff Jarvis said.
There were so many graduates, they almost didn’t all fit on the stage during the ceremony. A couple of times the graduates in back of the line had to stop and wait for their peers in front to get on stage before moving forward themselves.
The ceremony began with a moment of silence to show respect for UNOH instructor Bill White who died in a motorcycle accident Friday.
Jarvis began the 97th UNOH graduation ceremony with a speech to the graduates. The class of 2017 represents 33 states, Puerto Rico and 20 countries, he said.
“I hope your time at the University of Northwestern Ohio benefited your social and emotional growth, in addition to your academic growth,” Jarvis said to the graduates. “I hope you met some lifelong friends.”
The university is continuing to grow as it adds new majors and facilities so students have more options to succeed, he continued.
Two exceptional students also spoke during the graduation ceremony. Erik Dickel, of York, Pennsylvania, was the speaker for the College of Applied Technologies and Kelsey Fiely, of Fort Recovery, spoke for the Colleges of Business, Health Professions and Occupational Professions.
Dickel graduated with an associate degree in Automotive and Diesel Technology with magna cum laude honors and a diploma in Alternate Fuels. He was employed as a student worker at UNOH for two and a half years, he said.
“I’m very proud to be graduating from the University of Northwestern Ohio,” Dickel said during his speech. “Graduation is not the end goal in itself. It is part of a larger journey.”
Dickel is an Auto/Diesel Technician with Empty Tank Diesel and Gasoline in York, Pennsylvania.
Fiely graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She played volleyball for her college career and was also a RACER leader, student ambassador. She almost didn’t go to the second interview for the RACER position because she was anxious about it, she said during her speech.
“UNOH was not my first option when I was choosing which college to attend,” Fiely said. “It was not my first choice because I was extremely nervous about living a whole hour away. For me this was my first great leap.”
The message of Fiely’s speech was about doing things that are outside individual comfort zones because that’s how personal growth and change happen.
“Next time you are faced with an opportunity not in your comfort zone I challenge you to ask yourself three questions,” she said. “One: When was the last time I made a decision that was not in my comfort zone? Two: How will this decision help me grow? And three: If I decide not to take this opportunity am I risking the loss of a great outcome?”
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