Penz Encourages OUE Grads to Follow Right Path

Photo Provided Long-time Ohio University Eastern supporters George Carroll, Marylou Goodman, John Goodman and keynote speaker Denise Penz share a moment after the OUE fall graduation ceremony.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Ohio University’s Eastern Campus honored 16 local graduates at the Fall Honors and Recognition Convocation last Friday evening at the OUE Theate.

Campus Dean Paul Abraham welcomed the graduates and their families. He was followed byE. J. Schodzinski, OUE’s director of external relations, who introduced the keynote speaker, Denise M. Penz, director of wealth management at Home Savings Bank.

“Tonight’s event represents a critical rite of passage for our students who have persevered through many hours of study, exams and paper writing to reach their goal of completing a degree,” Abraham said. “It is a momentous and hard-to-reach accomplishment, which bookmarks a critical juncture in life. Simply put, tonight marks the beginning of what comes next for our graduates.”

Abraham continued: “We are very proud at OUE to offer a major university education to the residents of the Upper Ohio Valley region. Many of our students graduate with no or little debt thanks to their own hard work, the support of their family, the low cost of our tuition and the many scholarships that are available to high-achieving students.”

Schodzinski praised Penz for her leadership on the community advisory board, which helped to raise $320,000 this year for student scholarships.

“I am honored to introduce Denise as our keynote speaker because she served with distinction in the United States Navy, climbed the corporate ladder with grace, and touched the lives of many in our community through her passionate service to a number of special causes. We are thrilled that Ohio University Eastern has become one of her passions.”

Penz, who was named the 2017 Austin C. Furbee Award recipient, gave an inspiring talk about passion, resilience, courage and finding the right path.

“Do what you love, even if you don’t love it every day. This gives you a strong sense of purpose and it is a big part of your happiness,” she said. “Be honest with yourself, observant and make the most out of every situation by accepting the things you cannot change and changing those things you can. Lastly, find the courage to do things you are not sure you are ready to do.”

Abraham concluded the ceremony by congratulating this year’s candidates on earning their Ohio University degrees.

“I feel confident that we are sending the graduates into the world inspired to make a difference and with more courage and confidence than when they came through the doors a few short years ago. Congratulations to all of you on a job well done.”