Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Newest members join ranks of OU-C alumni during Recognition of Graduation event

The newest members officially joined the ranks of alumni of the Chillicothe Campus during the recent annual Recognition of Graduation event in the campus’ Shoemaker Center. Nearly 330 students earned Ohio University degrees this academic year while attending classes through OU-C and approximately 180 graduates took part in the ceremony.

Mishion Payne gave the student reflection address and recounted her college journey, enrolling at OU-C at the age of 30. She credited the support and encouragement of numerous faculty and staff members, as well as her fellow classmates, for helping her earn her bachelor’s degree in applied management. Payne has since landed a full-time position at Homeland Credit Union and is advancing in her career field.

In linking today’s graduates with their predecessors, Stephen Gary received the Rich Bebee Alumni Leadership Award. Gary recently retired as the longest-serving CEO in the 102-year history of the Savings Bank in Circleville. He has been actively involved in his profession and his community, earning numerous business-related and civic accolades along the way.

Individuals recognized with Distinguished Alumni Awards included Robert Beverly, the late Thomas Brown, James Butt and Emily Schmidt.

Larry Gates delivered the keynote address, recounting the story of a tightrope walker and encouraging the graduates to overcome a fear of the unknown.

“Do not let yourself be intimidated by professionals,” he said. “If you have a better idea, if your plan makes more sense, then insist on being heard.”

He also s¬tressed the importance of having a good perspective and making an impact.

“In life, your attitude is everything,” he said. “Motivated, focused individuals will continue to succeed … Look for something positive in everyone you meet … The more you give away, the more you will have … Remember that you make the small decisions with your mind but the big decisions with your heart.”

Gates, a Chillicothe native, is retired as senior vice president for human resources and administration with Philip Morris Companies, He and his wife, Mary, established the Gates Foundation, Ross County Scholarship Fund. Through their generosity, more than 150 scholarships have been awarded to area high school students, opening the doors of higher education for these individuals.

In closing, Chillicothe Campus Dean Martin Tuck echoed Gates’ emphasis on making an impact. “Pay forward. You have earned an excellent education. Be mindful of that, and use your skills and insights to help others.”

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