More than 530 Owens Community College students graduated over the weekend.
For 42-year-old Amy Harrison of Toledo, a criminal justice technology major, Fall Commencement represents the start of new career aspirations within the field of law enforcement.
“I always had an interest in law enforcement and decided it was time to go back to school and pursue my passion,” explained Harrison, who has been working in accounting for the past 20 years. “Graduating with my degree in criminal justice is a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Washington Courthouse resident Adam Wickensimer views his graduation from Owens as the first step as the 28-year-old intends to now pursue his bachelor’s degree in business at Ohio University.
Wickensimer, an Honors Program scholar as well as a published poet and a military veteran, said, “I eventually want to attend law school with the goal of serving as an advocate for the disadvantaged and minorities.”
Katherine Fell, president of the University of Findlay, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
“Graduates, I am honored to be here with you," stated Fell. “In fact, I make some assumptions about you because you are graduating from this highly respected college: I assume that you are self-disciplined, curious about the world around you, and ready to begin, on this commencement day, the next stage of your education, whether that be pursuing another degree or learning on the job as you start a new career.”
Chelsey McMillan, a registered nursing student and Monroe resident, was selected as the Owens class representative for the ceremony.
She said, “As I look out into this crowd, I know that each of us, however different we may seem or look, are all similar because we have all encountered obstacles and tragedies that made our goals seem impossible to reach.
“I want to let you know that I am so proud of each and every one of you for possessing the courage and persistence to not give up on your dreams in times of hardship, but instead to excel and accomplish a major milestone."
She added, “Congratulations on reaching such an incredible accomplishment. I wish you all the best of luck and may each of your personal journeys lead you to a world of success and happiness in your future careers.”
In addition to the honor of being selected to represent her class, McMillan holds a 4.0 grade-point average at Owens and enjoys running marathons in her personal time.
She credits her success to the support and love of her family, as well as her boyfriend, Drew, and his family. She would like to thank the nursing faculty for its support, especially Julie Lohse, who McMillan described as her constant cheerleader.
After graduation, McMillan, a 2008 Jefferson High School graduate, envisions working as an obstetrics nurse and plans on pursuing her bachelor’s degree and eventually becoming a certified nurse midwife or a nurse practitioner.