Grayson College celebrated student success at its spring commencement ceremony held Friday at the Cruce Stark Auditorium. Between the two ceremonies held, the college awarded almost 700 degrees and certificates to more than 500 graduates.

Of the 683 degrees conferred, 396 were associate degrees and 287 were certificates.

“The mission of Grayson College is student success,” Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said. “We want our students to form early connections and complete what they start—that is reflected in our goal to have students Connect, Commit and Complete.”

The speaker for the event was Grayson College alumnus John Coffman, a 1965 graduation of Denison High School and one the first students to attend Grayson College.

In his speech, Coffman provided advice on making the most of a journey by encouraging graduates to make service to others a priority in their lives.

“Learn that you don’t have to wait until you make a bunch of money to make a difference,” Coffman said. “The most important thing you have to give is your time, your presence.”

Faculty member of the year honors were presented to Dental Assisting Program Director Tonya Hance. Adjunct faculty member of the year honors were presented to Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Professor Bill Gazaway. Staff member of the year was awarded to LAN support technician Jeff Halley.

The college’s graduates for spring were an average 27 years old, with the youngest at 16 and the oldest at 65 years old. The graduates took a cumulative 11,283 courses and completed them with an average grade point average of 3.13. Workforce Education students made up 55 percent of the graduating students, with health science making up 14 percent and academic studies comprising the other 31 percent.

In addition to the two commencement ceremonies held Friday, the college celebrated students in a variety of programs through several other awards ceremonies held throughout the week. On Thursday, the college held an Adult Education Literacy and Center for Workplace Learning recognition ceremony, as well as a radiology pinning ceremony. Also on Thursday, the college held a medical lab technician lab coat ceremony on the college’s south campus. Friday evening, nursing graduates were honored at a pinning ceremony and the celebrations will conclude Saturday with a dental assisting pinning ceremony.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” McMillen said. “We are shortening the time for degrees to keep students on their pathway and to get them to their transfer institution or career quicker. I am fortunate that we get to celebrate student completion multiple times a year.”

Molly Harris is the assistant to the president of Grayson College.