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The 43rd annual spring commencement was held at East Central College Saturday morning, May 18.  The class of 2013 included 487 candidates for graduation.

 

Dr. Marianne Inman, president of Central Methodist University gave the commencement address.  Inman spoke to the graduates about life being a constant process of learning and discovery.

 

“I hope that, throughout your lifetimes, you will use the excellent education that you have received here to continue to learn and grow in three areas:  your chosen work, your relationships with other people and your understanding of yourself,” she said.  “I hope that your education to this point will always help you make the best discoveries and find the best path for you.”

 

“Here at East Central College you have been given a wonderful outlook on the world, and you have been equipped with knowledge and skills that can never be taken from you,” noted Inman.  “You have been prepared well for whatever comes next in your life.”

 

Inman has worked in higher education for more than 30 years.  She has been president at CMU since 1995 and will retire in June.  

 

Dr. Jon Bauer, president of ECC, conferred associate degrees and certificates upon the graduates.

 

Members of the college board of trustees awarded the diplomas at the 11 a.m. ceremony; the first time the college has held the event on a Saturday.

 

Outstanding Student

Jay Schafler of  Villa Ridge received the Outstanding Student Award.  A husband and father, he majored in pre-engineering at ECC. 

 

In making the presentation, Cookie Hays, vice presidnt of student development, noted that faculty and staff members describe Schafler as kind, respectful, hard-working, considerate and driven to succeed.

 

Schafler made the decision to return to college after an injury ended his previous career as an auto mechanic.  With the support of his family he decided to study to be an engineer.  He received a scholarship through the Graduate St. Louis project, a grant program that assists adults returning to college. 

 

Hays noted that Schafler liked to study in the Learning Center, but would often end up tutoring younger students and encouraging their efforts. 

 

 “Jay knew it was important to find ways to become actively involved and to connect with others on campus,” said Hays.  “He found that connection through the A HERO Club, a student organization which focuses on helping adult students stay in school.” 

 

Eilene Acheson, ECC retention coordinator, noted that Schafler was always the level head in the crowd who stood up for what was right.   “He had a lot to balance, but he always kept things under control,” she said.  The club gave him a place to make a difference by helping other students.  No task was too big for him to tackle.” 

 

Dr. Barry Bookout, associate professor of pre-engineering, stated that entering an academic field of higher mathematics and advanced science as an adult must have been daunting for Schafler, but he approached it with an appreciative attitude and a strong determination to learn all he could.   “I respect him tremendously for taking on such a big challenge, Bookout said.  “He could have chosen something less taxing than engineering, but he was determined to do his best.” 

 

Schafler was president of A Hero Club and was also a Student Government Association representative and member of Phi Theta Kappa scholastic honor fraternity.  Although he was very involved with campus service organizations, Schafler was a diligent student and graduates with honors carrying a 3.6  grade point average.

 

He was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and is also involved in his community as a leader of his son’s Boy Scout troop.

 

A 1989 graduate of  Pattonville High School, Schafler plans to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla next year and pursue a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering. 

 

The annual Outstanding Student Award is the highest award given to a graduate of East Central College.  The honoree is chosen by a vote of the faculty and staff after thoughtful consideration of his or her academic achievement and participation in campus and community activities. 

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