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STLCC Celebrates Student Success at 2013 Commencement Ceremonies

May 20, 2013

Honorary Degree Award presentation  
Rodney Gee, second from left, accepts the St. Louis Community College Honorary Degree Award during commencement ceremonies May 19. Also pictured are, from left, Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey, student presenter Kevin Gomez, and Board of Trustees Chair Libby Fitzgerald.

More than 7,000 family and friends helped celebrate the success of St. Louis Community College’s 2013 graduating class in commencement exercises conducted May 19 at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.

More than 200 faculty and staff participated in the ceremony. In addition to more than 3,000 degrees and certificates, the Class of 2013 included 68 graduates who maintained perfect 4.00 grade-point averages; 420 with GPAs of 3.50 or higher; 320 members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year institutions; and 42 students who earned bachelor’s degrees through articulated programs with Central Methodist University and Southeast Missouri State University.

The class also included 18 students from Central America and the Caribbean who are deaf or hard of hearing who earned certificates in quality technology through the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program. SEED is an international scholarship program that is designed to support economic and social development in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, through which more than 4,500 youth have been trained in the United States and are now working to affect change in their home communities.

“Today, we are celebrating success – not only the success of our 2013 graduates, but also the success of more than 1.2 million who have attended St. Louis Community College over the last 51 years,” said Chancellor Myrtle E.B. Dorsey during her remarks. “I firmly believe that if you touch one life, you change the world. Our faculty and staff touch the lives of our students every day and effect change for those students. Our students, too, touch our lives, each other’s lives, and the ripple effect flows to families and friends, and we are never the same. A high school dropout comes back to school and becomes a nurse or doctor or teacher, touching new lives. That’s why we believe in education and that’s why we take such great pride in seeing all of our graduates sitting here tonight.”

The college also presented the STLCC Honorary Degree Award to Rodney Gee, principal, Financial Advisor Diversity Performance for Edward Jones and president of the St. Louis Community College Foundation Board of Directors.

Gee was presented by Kevin Gomez, who earned his associate degree in general transfer studies and also interned at Edward Jones with Gee.

“I am living proof that all things are possible if you work hard and persevere,” said Gomez, a member of the 2013 All-Missouri Academic Team. Gomez will attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Pierre Laclede Honors College to study business. He added, “Mr. Gee has been a role model for me.”

In accepting the award, Gee told the graduates: “Continue to be responsible for your growth and development, and also contribute to your community.”

The student speaker was Antonio Parker Sr., who earned an associate degree in criminal justice/law enforcement. Parker recently was named to the 2013 All-USA Community College Academic Team. He also was named the 2013 Coca-Cola Foundation New Century Scholar as well as a first-team selection to the 2013 All-Missouri Academic Team. He has earned several academic scholarships and will attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis to study criminal justice. Parker’s goal is to become a U.S. Marshal.

“So-called experts said I would not make it to college. So many obstacles stood in my way,” he said. “A lot of family and friends pushed me, and I remember when I didn’t have them. Or have support. We all have people who have helped us on our journey. To those who have been there for me, thank you for not allowing me to take any shortcuts.

“Someone asked me, ‘How did you find success?’ It was simple,” he said. “I went looking for it.”