The Times West Virginian

Opinion

May 17, 2013

Record-breaking years for Pierpont, FSU give students strong opportunities

When people make the decision to further their education — whether they’re going to college immediately after high school or heading back to the classroom after several years of being in the workforce — there are plenty of potential obstacles to consider.

Will they have the financial resources to pay for their education?

Will they be able to manage the work and exams required in the classes?

Will they keep pace with their fellow students?

And if they have families or jobs, will they be able to balance the added responsibilities of taking on college life?

Earning a college degree is neither simple nor inexpensive. It takes time. It takes determination. It takes a strong support system eager to see you succeed.

And that makes the fact that Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College are celebrating a record number of graduates an even bigger accomplishment.

Both institutions marked record years during commencement ceremonies last week, where proud graduates were recognized for their success in the classroom.

Pierpont Community & Technical College celebrated the fact that the Class of 2013 is the largest class in Pierpont’s history.

“The numbers don’t tell the whole story, but it is our biggest graduating class ever, and that is exciting,” said Dr. Doreen Larson, presi­dent of the college. “We will be close to 500 graduates this year.”

Among the graduates were the first from new Pierpont programs like power plant operations and medical lab technologies.

Larson noted that for many Pierpont students, a new degree represents a promotion at work or a transition into a new field.

“As you look through our graduates, what’s considered ‘nontraditional’ ... is the norm for us,” she said.

Fairmont State also marked a record year, and President Dr. Maria Rose applauded the university’s dedication to fulfilling its mission statement of helping individuals realize their personal and profes­sional goals.

“It’s always exciting to see stu­dents who have been successful, have completed their degrees and are ready to go out into the work­force and become productive citi­zens,” Rose said.

The integral role played by Fairmont State will be key in the students’ future success, as Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and commencement speaker at FSU’s ceremony, pointed out.

“The education you’ve received here at Fairmont State University has prepared you for today’s workforce by providing you with knowledge and experience, but most importantly the ability to adapt and make the most of each and every opportunity,” he said.

With a record number of graduates, more students than ever are armed with the lessons they learned at Fairmont State and Pierpont. That, as Larson said during Pierpont’s commencement ceremony, means “we’ve really had a great year.”

With continued leadership and a dedication to seeing their students succeed, both Pierpont and Fairmont State are poised to have more great years and record-breaking accomplishments in the future.

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