In graduation ceremonies described as a “day of celebration” by State Fair Community College President Dr. Joanna Anderson, the college once again broke records for the number of degrees and certificates that were awarded by the college this year.
Two hundred thirty-two students received their degrees at the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fair grounds Friday evening.
That number is a part of the 1,095 degrees and certificates that were awarded to 948 candidates for graduation.
“Our graduates tonight range in age from 17 to 67, including 10 high school graduates from the class of 2016 who will be awarded college degrees from SFCC tonight,” Anderson commented during her opening remarks at commencement. “We are also very proud of the 350 retired and active military personal who will be receiving degrees and certificates this evening.”
Former president of the SFCC College Board of Trustees, Gary Noland, who is also a veteran, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony telling the graduates that life is all about change.
“Whoever said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes should have added ‘change,’” Noland said. “Like it or not, it is an inevitable fact of life, and we live in a day and time when we come face to face with it almost daily.”
Noland told the graduates that there are two types of change: the kind you initiate yourself out of desire to improve your situation, and the kind someone or something else chooses for you.
“The day you filled out your application to become a student at State Fair Community College you chose to make a change in your life,” Noland said. “Tonight, you reap the rewards of that change and I commend you.
“You make every one of us on this stage proud, as well as some who are in this audience just because you made that commitment to change your life for the better.”
Jorge Guevara, the 2016 Distinguished Alumni at the college represents a graduate of SFCC who has worked diligently to bring change not only in his personal life but for residents of Pettis County as well.
Guevara in 2005 received a professional certificate in practical nursing form SFCC and since that first degree, went on to receive two others from the college as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Central Missouri.
Guevara and his family founded GUESA USA Investments in 2011 and since then the company has developed two multi-million dollar projects in Sedalia and one in Florida, employing more than 200 individuals in the two states.
Guevara is currently developing a health care Facility for Sedalia that is expected to open in the fall.
“In August of 2002, when I came to Sedalia as an exchange student through Rotary International Program, I came here not knowing what to expect nor what I was going to do,” Guevara told the graduates. “Once here, I realized I had no limitations, I could be whoever I wanted to be and there were no limits to whom and what I wanted to be; life was all up to me.”
Guevara then asked the graduates to stand and point as far as they could with their right arm, telling them to remember that point.
He then instructed the students to go through the exercise again, this time pushing their limits and going as far as they could.
Once seated, he asked the graduates to raise a hands to show how many had exceeded their limits on the second attempt.
“As you can tell, no one was interfering with you on the first time that I asked you to go as far as possible,” Guevara said. “Only you are the one responsible for not going as far as you could; you didn’t push yourself beyond what you thought you could reach.
“You had to wait for me to give you a second chance and guide you into reaching a limit that not even you thought you could reach,” he added. “Life doesn’t always give you second chances, and life doesn’t have a coach to always push you to the next limit; you were your only limitation and only you can make sure to always reach limits beyond your belief.”
On Friday afternoon, prior to commencement, a pinning ceremony and commencement was hosted for 55 Allied Health students who received their degree or certificates at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center on the Sedalia Campus.
A third ceremony was hosted at 2 p.m. Saturday to recognize the college’s Adult Education and Literacy graduates who obtained their high school equivalency diplomas and those who have earned their United States citizenship.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484