WEST LIBERTY - Whether they majored in education, art, science or business, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman told 352 West Liberty University graduates to use their acquired knowledge to make the world a better place during the Saturday commencement.
"Each of you leaves here with the potential to be a teacher - a leader," Harshman told graduates in delivering his address inside the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex on the university's campus. "When you leave here today, you are leaving with a gift."
Harshman also told graduates that, although formal education is now complete for some of them, the learning experience is not.
Photo by Casey Junkins
West Liberty University graduate Lindsay Cervenak speaks during the Saturday commencement ceremony.
"You are not done, nor are any of us, regardless of our ages," he said.
During the ceremony, university President Robin C. Capehart presented Harshman with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree for distinguishing himself in the field of literature.
"Stories are part of your life, no matter what you do," Harshman added. "May you all have a story to tell."
Weirton native Lindsay Cervenak served as the graduating student speaker. Cervenak is the highest-ranking student from the College of Education, having earned a 4.0 GPA. An elementary education major, she most recently completed her student teaching at Hilltop Elementary School in Marshall County, while also completing student teaching at Woodsdale Elementary.
"Some experiences take us by surprise," Cervenak said. "None of us are here today because our lives are easy."
In addition, graduating seniors with the highest GPA in each respective college carried the college banner during the ceremony.
The following students served as banner carriers for their respective colleges:
- College of Arts & Communication - Alan Cline of Wellsburg;
- College of Sciences Nicole Baker of Cambridge;
- Gary E. West College of Business - Daniel Gantzer of Wheeling;
- College of Education - Machele Miller of Moundsville and Heather Uttermohlen of Wheeling;
- College of Liberal Arts - Stacy Sumner of Toledo, Ohio; and
- School of Professional Studies - Paul Harbert of Steubenville.
The commencement also offered the inaugural class of physician assistants the first opportunity to walk and participate in graduation. The Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree program welcomed its first class in July 2012. The 17 students are expected to complete final rotations in June.
The graduating class included students from 11 states and Washington, D.C., plus three foreign countries.