West Virginia University at Parkersburg conducts spring graduation ceremony
PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg held its 51st annual spring commencement ceremony on Saturday in its College Activity Center.
More than 180 graduates crossed the stage, with a total of 350 students earning certificate, associate and bachelor’s degrees, pending final grades.
Family, friends and graduates were welcomed by WVU Parkersburg President Chris Gilmer, who will be assuming the interim campus presidency at WVU Potomac State College. He offered words of encouragement for the graduating class.
“Graduates hear this from me if you hear nothing else I say: You too are the accumulation of the dreams of generations,” Gilmer said. “While you have worked hard and should be duly proud of your accomplishments, no one comes to a moment like this alone. It is a milestone no one can ever take away from you — you have earned it, but you have earned it on the shoulders of generations of people you never even met.”
This is the last commencement Gilmer will preside over as WVU Parkersburg president. School officials said Gilmer will be remembered as a student-focused leader, rebuilding strong relationships with area businesses, industries, nonprofits and schools.
The keynote speaker was West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, who has been a leader in higher education for more than 30 years.
“Unlike me, this experience never gets old, because each time I look out into the sea of graduates happy and hopeful faces I feel as excited as I did at my own graduation
Gee reminded the spring class of 2022 that while success in life is important, failure creates an opportunity for self-growth.
“The possibility of failure is not a reason to resist change. Failure is, in fact, an inevitable and even mandatory detour on the road to any worthwhile goal,” he said. “If one is not failing, one is not learning.”
The college also presented recognition awards to exceptional members of the campus and surrounding community, including:
* Philanthropist of the Year: The Erickson Foundation, Laurie Erickson and Kathy Eddy.
* The Generations Award from the National Institutes for Historically Underserved Students: Dr. Donzell Lee and Family.
* The Governor of West Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism: Kiki Angelos
* Alumna of the Year: Christie Willis
* Business Partner of the Year: The Blennerhassett Hotel, Wayne Waldeck and Lee Rector.
* Innovator of the Year: The Ross Foundation, Tres and Melissa Ross.
* Nonprofit Partner of the Year: The United Way, Stacy DeCicco and Justin Raber.
Also, during commencement, WVU Parkersburg recognized Christie Calvert, child development program coordinator, as the Bernard P. McDonough Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. She has doubled program enrollment and received multiple rankings from Intelligent.com as having one of the nation’s best online child development degree programs.
Madeline Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.