With a flick of 288 mortarboard tassels, the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope invested its Class of 2013 with what a top administrator of the University of Arkansas System said Tuesday night were the challenges of educational liberation, paying it forward, and celebrating themselves.
UA System Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Moore told the graduates that they were faced with multiple emotions at this moment in their lives, feeling gratitude toward parents and faculty for support and encouragement.
“Those of you sitting in the middle of this auditorium have a very personal bond with at least one of the outstanding faculty members here on stage,” Dr. Moore said.
He said each of them were certain to have felt a moment of relief in knowing they had accomplished their goal in continuing their education, and each should feel optimistic toward their future and the opportunities it holds.
Moore challenged the graduates to continue their education, whether in formal academics or in everyday learning.
“It is liberating,” he said. “Keep that spark alive.”
But, he also asked that each graduate “pay it forward” by becoming as supportive of someone else's educational ambitions as those who supported and encouraged them.
“And, I challenge you to celebrate yourselves, tonight,” Moore quipped.
The inaugural commencement to be conducted at Hempstead Hall, UACCH's new conference/arts venue, ceremonies for the combined Hope/Texarkana UACCCH Class of 2013 represented multiple milestones, UACCH Chancellor Chris Thomason told a packed house.
“This class is the first in 48 years to welcome a new campus with them,” Thomason said of the new Texarkana campus students. “You are the very first of many to follow to receive your degrees on the stage of Hempstead Hall.”
He said the class represented the largest freshman contingent to have enrolled at UACCH, helping the college become the fastest growing university or college in the UA system.
The ceremonies were also marked by the recognition of the 2013 Outstanding UACCH Alumnus, Wendy Jones, of Fulton; the 2013 Outstanding UACCH Faculty Member, Laura Massey, dean of health professions; and 2013 Student Spirit of Service Award honoree, Kay Cheatham.
The ceremonies represented the completion of some 484 degrees and certificates in 14 different academic disciplines and 27 areas of technical study.