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The 42nd annual spring commencement was held at East Central College Thursday evening, May 10. 


Dr. Brian Foster, provost at the University of Missouri-Columbia, delivered the commencement address.  Foster spoke to the graduates about how they will learn what they’re good at over time.


“I know life is complicated.  We all have lots of important priorities: family, community, one’s own future and well-being, commitment to broad social issues, military service and much more,” he said.  “None of us have all of these responsibilities, but we all juggle several.  Therefore, we have to make choices, while still being prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.”


“The education you’ve received at East Central is a big step toward being prepared for the future,” Foster said. “This graduation ceremony isn’t the end of your education because there are so many options available to you.”


The first in his family to pursue a college education, Foster noted that access to education gave him a life he could not have imagined.  “College helped me find myself and my passion.  I encourage you to find your passion and seize all of the opportunities that come your way.”


Dr. Edward Jackson, president of ECC, conferred associate degrees and certificates upon the graduates.  The ceremony marked Jackson’s final commencement.  He will retire in June after seven years at ECC and 46 years in higher education. 


Members of the college board of trustees awarded the diplomas.  Of the 456 students who applied fro graduation, a total of 144 walked across the stage during the ceremony held in the college gymnasium.


Outstanding Student


Christina Dawn King of Owensville received the Outstanding Student Award, the highest award given to an ECC graduate.  A wife and mother of two, she majored in teaching at ECC. 


In making the presentation, Brenda Bouse, vice president of career and outreach education, noted that faculty members and fellow students describe King as kind and supportive of others.  “Christina places a high value on her education and pushes herself without being pushy,” noted Bouse.  “She doesn’t brag about herself, but is quick to recognize the accomplishments of others, even when she is the one most deserving of the compliment.”  


For the past two years King served as president of ECC-Union chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, earning the Distinguished Chapter Officer award for the Missouri region both years.     


Kevin Dixon, associate professor of biology and Phi Theta Kappa advisor, stated that King is an outstanding example of a servant leader.  “She is selfless in her giving.  She always works to make sure her fellow members have what they need to be successful, and is a constant motivator,” he said.  “I have no doubt she will succeed in her career as a teacher after completing her education.” 


King was also an active member of the Student Government Association and the Student Missouri State Teachers Association.  Although she was very involved with campus service organizations, King was a diligent student and maintained a 3.93 grade point average.


She was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and is also involved in her community as a Sunday school teacher and youth softball coach.


A 1997 graduate of Owensville High School, King plans to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla next year and pursue a bachelor’s degree in math education. 


In making the presentation, Bouse noted that the honoree is selected by a vote of the faculty and staff who consider academic achievement as well as extra-curricular involvement. 

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