While features have been added over the years to enhance the event, the spirit that defines the Chillicothe Campus’ “Recognition of Graduation” event continues to flourish.
“The focus is on the graduating students,” said OU-C staff member Jaime Lowe, chairperson of the graduation committee. “This is their day and an opportunity for faculty and staff members to show their support of the graduates for all of their hard work.”
Fellow graduation committee member Megan Carpenter said, “This is a chance for the community to see what our students have accomplished. The focus is on the students. This is their school and where they attended their college classes.”
The 11th annual Recognition of Graduation event will be held at 7:30 p.m. on June 8 in the Shoemaker Center. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor Chillicothe Campus students who have earned associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio University during the 2011-12 academic year.
A pinning ceremony for graduates of OU-C’s nursing program will be held at 6 p.m. on June 7 in the Shoemaker Center. Formal commencement ceremonies are held on the Athens campus.
The OU-C event offers an opportunity for students who pursued their Ohio University diplomas on the Chillicothe Campus to mark the occasion with those who were a part of their experience, especially campus and family members.
As former OU-C students, Lowe and Carpenter have a special understanding of the event’s significance and have helped to ensure the ceremony retains its student-centered focus.
“We want to make this a special occasion for the students and their family members and ensure that it is tailored to meet the students’ needs,” Lowe said. “For example, we look to keep it fairly brief so that the students have time to celebrate with their families afterward. Without the support of these family members, many of the students would not have been able to realize their success.”
Carpenter has an insider’s perspective on the event. “I walked in the first Recognition of Graduation ceremony, and it is refreshing to see how it has grown over the years. We have added features such as the Bebee Leadership Award and recognition of Distinguished Alumni, as well as providing graduates with certificates and gifts to make it more special for the students. However, with the changes, we have made sure to keep the focus on the students. We want to make sure we emphasize the individualized approach that marked their college careers.”
The choice of the speaker for the event is intended to support the ceremony’s student-centered theme, and that is certainly true this year.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown will deliver the keynote address.
Justice McGee Brown has been a trailblazer throughout her career. She became the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, joining the court in January 2011. She was previously the first African-American woman elected to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. She is also a former Ohio University Board of Trustees member and candidate for lieutenant governor of Ohio.
More than just star power, Justice McGee Brown brings an important perspective to share with the graduates as they embark on their professional careers. A common theme throughout her professional and community work is her advocacy for children and families, so she brings the perspective of utilizing her education and talents to “pay forward” and help others, which is an important point of emphasis of the OU-C educational experience. Further, as an Ohio University alumnus, it seems appropriate she would offer words of advice to her fellow Bobcats as they depart OU-C to pursue their promise.