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The 44th annual spring commencement was held at East Central College Saturday morning, May 17.  The class of 2014 included 494 candidates for graduation.

 

United States Senator Roy Blunt spoke to the graduates about having a plan, but being flexible.  “The one thing that none of the faculty, staff and administration can really anticipate is how you are going to do what you do in the future,” Blunt noted.  “We live during an incredible period of change, and perhaps the best thing you have learned here is how to quickly adjust to what awaits you in the world.  We are going to do so many things so much differently 10 to 20 years from now and we need you to be prepared to be part of that change.”      

 

Blunt praised the students for their hard work in getting to this point in their lives.  “Some of you will transfer to another school to continue your education while others will take the knowledge you’ve acquired here and go straight into the workforce,” stated Blunt.  “With our location in the middle of the nation, more focus is going to be on Missouri.  I hope you will be a part of the great opportunities that will be available to you right here.” 

 

Elected to the United States Senate in 2010, Blunt has spent many years in public service.  He was elected to seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives serving the citizens of southwest Missouri.  Blunt also served two terms as Missouri’s Secretary of State.  A former history teacher, Blunt was president for four year s at his alma mater, Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.

 

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 11:30 a.m. ceremony.

 

Outstanding Student

 

Megan Fitts of  Pacific received the Outstanding Student Award.  

 

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. 

 

In making the presentation, Cookie Hays, vice president of student development, noted that faculty and staff members describe Fitts as kind, persistent, respectful and dedicated.

 

At the age of 15 Fitts began taking college classes on a part-time basis while being homeschooled.  A lover of the arts, she learned to play a variety of musical instruments and enjoyed playing in a community orchestra.  After several semesters she enrolled in a drawing class which prompted her to change her major from physical therapy to fine art.   

 

Fitts has been a member of the Art Club, serving as president in 2013 and leading the fund raising efforts for the club’s annual trip to Europe.  She was named an Outstanding Art Student last year and was the recipient of the Mid-Missouri Fine Arts Society scholarship for three semester.  Fitts was also a Student Government Association representative and member of Phi Theta Kappa scholastic honor society.  Although she was very involved with campus service organizations, Fitts was a diligent student and graduates with honors attaining a 3.8 grade point average.

 

Selected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Fitts was also one of two students nominated by East Central College for the All-USA Academic Team.  She was also named to the 2014 All-Missouri Academic First-Team and was one of 150 community college students in the nation to receive the Coca-Cola Scholar’s Bronze Award.

 

Fitts has been awarded a scholarship to attend Kansas City Art Institute in the fall where she will major in illustration.  Her long-term goals include a master’s degree in fine art and eventually authoring and illustrating her own graphic novel.

 

She is the daughter of Janet and Tom Fitts.  Her father is associate professor in ECC’s Emergency Medical Technology-Paramedic program and for more than 20 years her mother has periodically served as an adjunct instructor in the EMT-P department.

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