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STLCC Celebrates Student Success at 2014 Commencement Ceremonies

May 20, 2014

Rachel Zink  
Rachel Zink

More than 7,000 family and friends helped celebrate the success of St. Louis Community College’s 2014 graduating class in commencement exercises conducted May 18 at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.

More than 2,500 associate degrees and 517 certificates were conferred. Students who completed bachelor’s degrees through programs between STLCC and both Central Methodist University and Southeast Missouri State University also received diplomas during the ceremonies. Ninety-two graduates had perfect 4.0 grade point averages and 627 had GPAs of 3.5 or above.

The graduating class also included 16 students from Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean who are deaf or hard of hearing who earned certificates in micro computer applications and business 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.

“We certainly are proud of the academic excellence of our students,” said Interim Chancellor Dennis F. Michaelis during his remarks. “Tonight we are celebrating not only the success of our 2014 graduates, but also the success of more than 1.2 million students who have attended St. Louis Community College over the last 52 years.”

Former STLCC Chancellor Henry Shannon, Ph.D., served as the commencement speaker. Shannon, who currently is president/chancellor of Chaffey Community College District in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., worked at STLCC for 24 years. He served as chancellor from 2000 to 2007.

Shannon spoke about the tremendous energy in the room, how important education was, and how the graduates had persevered to earn their certificates or degrees. He spoke about hope saying that the people supporting the graduates have hope for them, for what they can achieve now, after working hard. "You can make a difference in the lives of others," he said. "Tonight is just the beginning of the rest of your life...keep hope alive."

The student speaker was Rachel Zink, who received her associate degree in general transfer studies. An honors program scholar, Zink received the 2014 President’s Merit Award and has appeared on the Dean’s List for five semesters. She also received a 2013 Student Leadership Award from the Missouri Community College Association. Zink is president of Meramec’s Global Justice Club. She is a member of the campus Phi Theta Kappa chapter and serves as the recording secretary for the campus Student Government Association. Zink also is a New Student Orientation peer mentor.

“I chose STLCC because it was affordable and close to home, but I stayed at STLCC because it embodied its mission statement, ‘Expanding minds and changing lives every day’" Zink said. “I'm a firm believer that every one of us was created for a purpose and that we cannot be tested beyond what we can handle. When we push past our hardships, we inspire others to do the same."