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Local colleges mark graduations

Universities in Springfield, Urbana and Cedarville will have 1,500 new grads.

More than 1,5000 students will graduate from local colleges this spring, with commencement ceremonies beginning today.

Clark State Community College and Cedarville and Urbana universities will kick off the college graduations this morning with Wittenberg University following Saturday, May 11.

Associate degrees mean an extra $400,000 in lifetime earnings on average, while a bachelor’s degree and above nearly double the income over a worker’s lifetime, according to research.

“The new graduates will bring fresh ideas, talent, energy and leadership into the workplace and also into their communities,” said Sean Creighton, executive director of the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education. “They are critically important to the region’s future. The new graduates automatically raise the education level of our citizens, which is vital because a more educated populace contributes to the economic health of communities In fact, a one percent increase in the local educational level results in $600 million in additional personal income.”

Clark State Community College will graduate 412 students in what will be President Karen Rafinski’s last commencement as president.

“A Clark State degree can have life-changing impact not only for the graduate but for their family as well,” said Rafinski. “Many of our students are the first in their family to attain college and finishing their degree program means conquering fears and overcoming hardship to achieve something they thought was impossible.”

Cedarville University will graduate 650 in what will also be the last commencement as president for William E. Brown, who will become the school’s chancellor.

“It’s a great honor to enjoy this last commencement, but at the same time it will be quite sad,” he said.

Urbana University’s graduation includes 80 undergraduate students and 17 graduate students.

On May 11, 365 students will graduate from Wittenberg University. It will be the first commencement for President Laurie Joyner.

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