College graduations in Clark, Champaign county set for Saturday

Clark State Community College, Wittenberg University and Urbana University will graduate about 1,100 students on Saturday bringing thousands of family members to Clark and Champaign county.

Ceremonies will take place across the area throughout the day on Saturday.

Clark State Community College will celebrate commencement with two ceremonies on Saturday.

Clark State’s Class of 2019 will feature 607 candidates for graduation who will receive their degree or certificate of completion. The class will feature 545 associate degrees, 76 certificates and 29 active duty, National Guard or veteran graduates.

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“Clark State strives to make college degrees affordable and attainable, while providing a quality education to meet transfer and workforce needs,” said Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “I extend my congratulations to the class of 2019 and look forward to learning of their continued successes.”

Two Clark State graduates will be the college’s commencement speakers.

Christopher Sineno will be graduating with an associate degree in management on Saturday. He will also be the featured speaker at the 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony.

Sineno intends to use the skills developed at Clark State to provide affordable housing for families through Ohio, Indiana and the surrounding region, he said.

“It was John F. Kennedy who said, ‘The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.’ From the beginning, Clark State has aligned with that vision and that means the world to me,” Sineno said.

Sineno said Clark State allowed him to, “grow at my own pace and develop my education success by my terms.”

Stephanie Carter Olan will be graduating with an associate of science degree from Clark State. She will address the 12:30 p.m. commencement graduates.

Olan came to Clark State from Puerto Rico to study and experience a culture more racially, ethnically and economically diverse. After graduation she will transfer to Wright State University to pursue her bachelor’s degree.

Wittenberg University will have nearly 400 graduates walk across the stage to receive their degrees on Saturday.

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P. Kay Carl, a 1959 graduate of Wittenberg, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters and share brief remarks with graduates during the ceremony, according to Cynthia Holbrook, senior communication assistant at Wittenberg.

“We are excited to welcome P. Kay Carl back to her alma mater for this momentous occasion,” said Wittenberg University President Michael Frandsen. “Kay embodies the mission of Wittenberg in her love of learning and commitment to serve. She is most deserving of being recognized during our commencement.”

After earning her Bachelor of Science in Education and Religion, Carl spent 35 years in education working as a counselor, principal and eventually assistant superintendent for the Clark County School District in Nevada.

Frandsen said he is confident that, “her words will remind the class of 2019 the power of the Wittenberg experience to transform lives for a lifetime.”

Meanwhile, a graduation tradition was threatened earlier this week after the Wittenberg University seal at the center of campus was vandalized.

Wittenberg police discovered damage to the large metal seal Wednesday morning.

Someone removed at least 104 bricks that surround the seal and put them atop a nearby stone wall. Someone then put the section of concrete ring in a nearby fountain. A maintenance supervisor at the university said it looked as though someone tried to remove the seal.

The seal was repaired by Wednesday evening, ensuring Saturday’s graduating class will be able to perform the “stomp the seal,” tradition.

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Urbana University will graduate a little over 100 students on Saturday, Sherry Mercurio, executive director of the Office of Community Relations for Urbana University said.

“This year’s speaker will be Derek Grosso, the CEO and founder of the Columbus Young Professionals Club,” Mercurio said.

Speakers at commencement also include Jared Reitz, a graduate from the Urbana University Class of 1969, and Madison Davis, a Class of 2019 student graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Young Adult Education.

Ceremonies at the three universities range from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

400: Wittenberg University graduates

100: Urbana University graduates

607: Clark State Community College graduates

The Springfield News-Sun is committed to providing coverage of institutions of higher education within Clark and Champaign county.

University, college commencements in Clark and Champaign Counties

Wittenberg University: 11 a.m. Saturday, Commencement Hollow, Wittenberg campus.

Clark State Community College:  9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Clark State Performing Arts Center, downtown Springfield.

Urbana University's: 11 a.m. Saturday, Grimes Center, Urbana University campus, Urbana

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