A new and exciting chapter has begun for the Jamestown Business College Class of 2014.
While most of the 122 graduates will be looking to enter the workforce for the first time, others celebrated the advancement of their current career and education.
Douglas Schutte, president of the board of trustees, presented graduates gathered inside First Episcopal Church in Jamestown on Saturday with bachelor's and associate degrees and certificates in business administration and administrative assistant programs.
One hundred and twenty-two students graduated from Jamestown Business College on Saturday.
Photo by Gavin Mead
First to congratulate the graduates was JBC president David Conklin, who commended them for their commitment to education despite the many challenges they have faced both in and out of the classroom. Acknowledging the college's commitment to offering education opportunities, even for students with substantial work and family obligations, Conklin drew special attention to those who attained their diplomas in spite of their demanding personal schedules.
"In today's complex, fast-paced, and ever-changing society, you have been challenged on many fronts as you have pursued your education," said Conklin. "Being here today is a testament to your drive, your work ethic, your physical and mental capacity, and your desire to have a brighter future."
The commencement address was delivered by Journey Gunderson, executive director of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy. She congratulated the graduates for their achievements while also warning them of the many challenges they still have yet to encounter. Drawing from her personal life, as well as that of Ball's, Gunderson stressed that the path to success is not easy and straightforward, instead requiring resilliency and the ability to adapt to life's challenges.
"As long as you are paying attention to where you are spending your energy and you are learning along the way," Gunderson said, "then no hard work is ever wasted in any direction."
JBC instructor Todd Melquist addressed the graduating class on behalf of the faculty, congratulating his now-former students for their hard work and commitment. As he spoke of the new opportunities awaiting the graduates, he also urged them to hold on to the memories they made during their time at the college, as evidence of the power of community and the rewards of commitment, personal sacrifice and an open mind.
"Never limit your thinking," Melquist said. "Hard work and opportunity can pay big dividends."
During the ceremony, students and faculty honored the memory of Toni Brosius of Jamestown, who died this year and would have been a member of the graduating Class of 2014. A certificate of distinction for exemplary work during her time at JBC was presented to her mother, Carol Brosius, in her honor.
Pamela Reese, JBC dean, presented awards to graduates who achieved the highest grade point averages. Graduates who received awards at the bachelor's degree level were: Jonathon Mayr (Jamestown), Amy Schine (Ashville), Emily Swanson (Jamestown) and Pamela Wimer (Clarendon, Pa.). Graduates who received awards at the associate degree level were: Jenell Chase (Jamestown), Anne Burns (Fredonia), Hanley Cross (Sinclairville), Whitney Goon (Kennedy), Charles Grisanti (Cassadaga) and Michelle Wood (Jamestown).