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May 11, 2013

Wallace State celebrates 47th commencement

Wallace State Community College in Hanceville and President Vicki Hawsey conferred degrees upon approximately 1,000 graduates during Wallace State’s 47th commencement ceremony at Tom Drake Coliseum Friday.  More than 500 participated in the ceremony.

“Graduates, as you conclude this phase of your life’s journey and embark upon the next, we congratulate you and honor each of you tonight for all that you have achieved,” Dr. Hawsey told the Class of 2013.

Hawsey encouraged the group to claim “a life of significance” as defined by John Maxwell. “Success is when we add value to ourselves – through education, achievements, a great job, possessions we acquire, a nice bank account.  Significance, on the other hand, is when we add value to others,” she said. “I challenge you to channel your calling toward adding value to others through your unique ability to serve.”

Wallace State has educated hundreds of thousands of students since opening its doors in 1966, and more than 30,000 have had degrees conferred. The college produces more graduates than any other institution in the Alabama Community College System and is known for its reputation of excellence as one of the top 120 community colleges in the nation.

Forty-five percent of students graduating this year were the first in their family to graduate from college.

As has become her tradition, Hawsey shared the stories of several students who represent the richness of the community college mission and the student experience at Wallace State.

Mavon Copeland.  After attending UAH and Wallace State with an eye toward entering healthcare, Mavon realized his true calling was technology and decided to change his major to Electronics.  He started the electronics program in 2011 and spent many extra hours in the lab to master the competencies required to be successful in his field, showing the same level of determination that he devotes to volunteer work with his church.  His instructors say he has exceeded expectations in mastering the highly technical curriculum.  As a result of his hard work, Mavon was one of the first students to interview with Nissan for an Industrial Maintenance Co-op job and scored high enough on their entry exam in his third semester to be accepted into the program. He began co-op work at Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee in October.  After graduation, Mavon will get married next weekend to Naomi Berkley, a Wallace State alum from the Dental Hygiene program, and begin his career as a full-time maintenance technician at Nissan on May 28.

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