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SCC holds 78th commencement

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By The Staff

When St. Catharine College moved from a junior college to a four-year institution in 2004, President William D. Huston said the school would soon be recognized as a destination college, rather than a transitional one. That designation became very evident Saturday at the 78th commencement ceremony held in Lourdes Hall.

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For the first time in St. Catharine history the number of bachelor’s degrees granted were more than the associate degrees awarded. A total of 54 graduates received bachelor’s degrees, while 50 were granted associate degrees.

The transition to a bachelor’s degree institution was just one sign of the growth at St. Catharine that was exhibited Saturday. The overflow crowd of 1,200 was also an indication that the college is growing quickly, and has nearly outgrown existing facilities.

“It is obvious that we will need our proposed convocation center very soon,” said Huston. “I will promise that this will be the last commencement held in Lourdes Hall without air conditioning.”  

But conditions weren’t too warm for the large crowd that turned out for the 70-minute commencement ceremony that included the Marion County High School Band, keynote speaker Joe Meyer, and a special Veritas Award to a loyal supporter of St. Catharine.

Meyer, the acting secretary of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Cabinet, and also the director of the Office of Educational Programs, gave pertinent words of advice to the attentive group of graduates.

“Graduates, the diploma you have earned will help provide opportunities and will help open doors for you,” Meyer said. “But you need to know this. Your degree is a key – not a guarantee. It represents your preparation for future success, but it does not guarantee your success.”

Meyer added, “To reach your goals, you will need to recognize opportunities as they come along. Grab hold of them and apply your knowledge and skills to meet the challenges presented to you.”

Following the conferral of degrees, the Veritas Award was given to Hamilton Simms. The special award is not given each year, but is an honor bestowed to a supporter of St. Catharine for exemplary service as Huston explained.

“The Veritas Award is a distinguished service award. Veritas, the Latin word for truth, is a motto of the Dominican Order. In that spirit, the Veritas Award for distinguished service is presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to the growth of the mission of St. Catharine College and has built up the community through his integrity and service.”

Simms definitely met the criteria as Huston outlined the years of service the life-long resident of Springfield has contributed.

“Mr. Simms has served two terms on the Board of Trustees. He has served in a variety of positions including chairman of the board, as well as vice-chairman. Also, he has been a member of the Executive, Finance and Development Committees.  He has served on the Academic Committee, the Student Affairs Committee and the Building and Grounds Committee. During his tenure as chairman, Mr. Simms attended over 25 meetings each year.”

Simms humbly accepted the award with a brief comment. “I don’t feel deserving of this award, but I am most grateful. I accept this on behalf of all of the trustees who have served St. Catharine.”

President Huston concluded the ceremony with recognition of the sponsoring Order of St. Catharine College, the Dominican Sisters of Peace, represented at the ceremony by Sr. Joan Scanlon, First Councilor.

And with that, the Class of 2010 marched to the recessional, for the first time carrying more bachelor’s degree sheepskins than associate degrees.