LIMA — Graduates in the Class of 2019 received their diplomas from Rhodes State College during ceremonies Saturday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. A total of 192 degrees were conferred during the afternoon ceremony marking the college’s 49th commencement ceremony.
“I’ve been in commencements for a long time here, and every year I get that lump in my throat,” said interim Rhodes State President Cynthia Spiers. “It just thrills me to watch the students walk across the stage at any age, and today I’m exceptionally thrilled because I get to stand up and address the students and the families. I’m just thrilled.”
Her message to students: “I want the students to know that they’re going to rise to the occasion, and their life has been changed as a result of being at Rhodes State and as they rise to the occasion, and take what we have taught them, and they’re the best that they can be they will improve our communities where they work and where they live.”
Spiers awarded Cathy L. Kohli the Outstanding Alumni Award. Kohli recently retired from a distinguished career that included law enforcement and leadership roles at Rhodes State College. She earned her associates of science in law enforcement from Lima Technical College in 1987.
“Wow. What an honor this is. You have no idea how much this means to me,” said Kohli.
The commencement speaker was Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
LaRose first took office as Ohio’s 51st Secretary of State on Jan. 14. He served two terms in the Ohio Senate prior to being elected to statewide office.
He spoke to the students about embracing “risk.”
“My message for you today is don’t play it safe. Seriously. Great things are accomplished by people who take risks,” he said. “Well thought out, carefully thought out risk but take risks.
“You see, the people who built this country and made it great, those that have strived and really done something remarkable, such as the namesake of this institution, are people who took great risks. You have to embrace risk before you can accomplish something remarkable.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.