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It was a historic year for St. Catharine College, as 159 students received diplomas on May 11 during the 81st commencement ceremony at the college.
This year two pioneer groups crossed the stage. One was a group of 11 students from Washington County High School that received an Associate of Arts from the college before they received their high school diplomas the following weekend. The group was part of the inaugural Commander College class, which is a group of students who have been taking courses at St. Catharine.
The other pioneer group consisted of nine students who received a Master of Arts. They are the first group to be awarded a graduate degree at St. Catharine College.
Dr. Dustan E. McCoy, chairman and chief executive officer of Brunswick Corporation, delivered the commencement address.
McCoy noted that the graduates were changing the upward trajectory of their lives by completing their degrees. However, having potential is one thing and achieving it is quite another, he said.
He listed several menial jobs that he had worked in his life, but added an important point.
“While I didn’t like all of these jobs, I knew I was being productive and moving forward. Working creates confidence,” he said.
He encouraged the graduates to determine what success means to them, make choices and live with them, act with civility, be around as many people as possible who are good at what they do, never burn a bridge and respect others. Those are all principles that have helped him in his life, he said.
While 149 undergraduate and nine graduate degrees were conferred, an honorary Bachelor of Arts was given to Rebecca L. Otto, who passed away during the spring semester.