Terra State Community College holds 51st Commencement ceremony

Leah Liskai and family pose for a photograph under the Neeley Center gazebo.
Leah Liskai and family pose for a photograph under the Neeley Center gazebo.

Terra State Community College began honoring the 51st graduating class at the first day of three commencement ceremonies on Thursday, June 25. During these ceremonies, graduates have signed up for individual time slots where they come to The Neeley Center on the Fremont campus with up to four guests, dressed in their cap and gown to receive their degree. All time slots are spaced apart by at least ten minutes and everyone entering the building is required to have a temperature scan and wear a mask or other facial covering.

Terra State President Dr. Ronald Schumacher announced that 211 students are graduating with associate degrees in over 26 fields and 90 students earned a certificate. Additionally, the age range of graduates was 17 years old to 58 years old, five graduates were in high school as part of the College Credit Plus (CCP) initiative, 71 graduates have transferred credits from other colleges and universities to Terra State, five students have a 4.0 GPA, 64 students have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, six were student employees and five were veterans.

Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Education Randy Gardner and previous Terra State president Dr. Marsha Bordner delivered commencement speeches to the 2020 graduates. Jonathon (JJ) Dull delivered the student speaker address. All speeches were recorded and will be posted to YouTube and sent to graduates.

Gardner began his speech saying, “I wanted to congratulate the students who have persevered and achieved something real—a college degree at one of Ohio’s best community colleges.” He stressed the importance of Terra State’s support and partnerships with businesses, help stimulating the economy, part in providing students opportunities in a variety of fields and cultivating proud Terra State alumni who give back to the community. “We are all in this together,” he said. “Indeed, now, we have something in common. We are college graduates in Ohio who are important to Ohio’s future.”

Bordner congratulated and encouraged the graduates by nodding to the nation’s history. “Disruption has led to profound change in our country and its operation,” she said, mentioning the Boston Tea Party, the Civil War and the Great Depression. “There are so many examples of common, everyday people, like you and me, who stood up for what’s right and made a difference,” she continued. Her examples were Rosa Parks, Todd Beamer and Greta Thunberg. She encouraged graduates to, “Use this virus as a catalyst to improve the lives disenfranchised around you.”

Shehbaz Khan, who earned his Associate of Arts and Associate of Individual Study degrees and won Terra State’s Perseverance Student Recognition Award, is proud of the education he received at Terra State. “I believe learning is a never ending process,” he said. “I will keep on learning and see how I can put forth my education for a better use.” He enjoyed this version of Commencement. “It was excellent and, to be very honest, even a few words of Commencement from the teachers builds up the morale of an individual. Not only in terms of being a good human being, but also being a good student. So, the words of teachers actually effect and transform students into effective and productive citizens,” he said.

President Schumacher left the graduates with an important piece of advice: “Remember that you must always champion the call to learn,” he said “It is the hope and expectation of our entire community college that Terra State not only planted the seeds of learning in you, but that you will share your leadership and learning wherever your journey takes you.”