WHEELING - Wheeling Jesuit University's graduates and nearly 3,000 spectators did not mark the end of undergraduate and graduate studies during commencement Saturday, but rather a new beginning as they embarked on a new life path.
Some students in the Class of 2011 already have careers and graduate schools lined up, while others are unsure what path to take.
Valedictorian Ryan Norman of Garfield Heights, Ohio - an English major and philosophy and music double minor with a 3.99 cumulative grade point average and a long list of achievements, awards, extracurricular activities and recognitions - delivered a speech to his peers. Norman said he is uncertain which path he will take, but he hopes to fill a position as an AmeriCorps volunteer locally.
WHEELING JESUIT CLASS OF 2011— Keynote speaker David Wilhelm addresses the Wheeling Jesuit University Class of 2011 in the Alma Grace McDonough Center gymnasium Saturday. - Zach Macormac
Student government President Trent Krupica of Glen Dale, who graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political science, plans to seek a graduate degree online through West Virginia University in integrated marketing. While pursuing that, he will work full-time with WJU starting June 1 as a special assistant in marketing and communications.
Wheeling-born Adam Carter earned his bachelor's degree in athletic training and will enter the graduate assistant program at WVU. He said he will work with Help Works Rehabilitation and Fitness, a company that outsources to high school sports programs. The graduate assistant program is a tuition reimbursement program, and he said he will get to have two years of extra education at no cost to him. Following that, Carter said he looks forward to a local job with a rehabilitation center.
Samantha McGlumphy of Benwood said she will continue on to graduate school at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology to study clinical psychology. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
A magna cum laude nursing graduate, Laura Watkinson of McDonald, Pa., said she secured a position with a private company in Tampa, Fla.
Of the 343 degrees awarded, 117 students earned graduate degrees and 226 took away their undergraduate degrees as family and friends packed the Alma Grace McDonough Center gymnasium on Saturday. A total of 252 students participated in the commencement ceremony.
"The future is so bright you've got to wear shades," commencement speaker and President of Woodland Venture Management David Wilhelm said to the robed achievers.
According to Director of Career Development Adriana Wolf, surveys of previous graduating classes found more than 90 percent of those who responded reported success in finding a career in the job market, doing volunteer work or continuing studies for a higher degree.
Wilhelm provided encouraging words for the graduates as he examined the university's motto, "Let Your Light Shine," and attributed the success of the graduates to the morals, values and education offered at WJU.
Along with Wilhelm, college President Richard Beyer presented honorary degrees to WJU's first basketball coach, Edward Coyne Sr., and distinguished alumna Patricia Ryan Casey '61.
Area graduates include:
Adena - Thomas J. Donley.
Bethany - Jill I Hicks.
Bloomingdale - Sharon L. McGraw.
Cadiz - Chelsea D. Coconougher, Jessica L. Kuryn.
Chester - Amy L. Metz.
Dillonvale - Bethani N. Barsch, Jared A. Estock, Jeramiah Freeland, Lindsay A. Harms, Gina M. Hicks, Jared W. Shank.
Freeport - Dana S. Kendziorski.
Mingo Junction - Lewis T. Caldrone.
Mount Pleasant - Sean E. Call, Emily Ann Harris.
New Cumberland - Debra J. Gosney, Steven C. Young.
Rayland - Jennifer K. Dobranetski.
Richmond - David C. Schmitt.
Steubenville - Aubrey Lynn Bodo, Joseph R. Antinone, Melissa Tuttle, Anna M. Zirille.
Tiltonsville - Ty Lollini.
Toronto - Michael R. Ludewig.
Weirton - Brian Budney; Rochelle M. Byers, Alexis Dankovchik, James N. Douglas, Michaelene A. Larch, Kristen M. Stewart.
Wellsburg - Stephanie F. Kazemka Cipriani, Morgan L. Hunter.
Wintersville - Virginia L. Griffiths.
Yorkville - Marianne C. Bonomo.