Belmont College

Belmont College Honors the Class of 2014


Attached photo: Co-Valedictorians Malachi Benesh (left) of Bellaire, Ohio and Paige Tracey of Martins Ferry, Ohio (right) with Ohio Senator Lou Gentile who served as the Wednesday, May 14th commencement speaker.
Attached photo: Co- Valedictorians Malachi Benesh (left) of Bellaire, Ohio and Paige Tracey of Martins Ferry, Ohio (right) with Ohio Senator Lou Gentile who served as the Wednesday, May 14th commencement speaker.

St. Clairsville, OH (May 21, 2014) - Officials at Belmont College conferred degrees upon a multitude of graduates as part of the College’s 2014 graduation ceremony in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Hundreds of parents, extended family, faculty, and staff were present to congratulate the Class of 2014.

President Dr. Joseph E. Bukowski welcomed the graduates, “Tonight you become proud alumni of Belmont College and will be going out to make your mark in the world just like those who have preceded you. I wish you the utmost success and happiness in all that you do.”

The Class of 2014 had two valedictorians; Paige Tracey of Martins Ferry, Ohio and Malachi Benesh of Bellaire, Ohio.

Tracey received degrees in Associate of Arts and Associate of Science, and Benesh received an Associate of Applied Business Degree in Accounting. Both graduates earned a grade-point-average of 4.0 and graduated with honors as members of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for two-year colleges.

The class co-salutatorians were Daphne Cunningham of Adena, Ohio who earned an Associate of Applied Business Degree in Business Administration & Leadership and Byron Powell of Bethesda, Ohio who earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Industrial Trades. Both salutatorians achieved a grade-point-average of 3.95 and graduated with honors.

Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Tuesday, May 13, 2014: Associate Degree Nursing; Early Childhood Education; Emergency Medical Services; Firefighter/Paramedic; Medical Assisting; Medical Coding; Medical Transcriptionist; Mental Health; Practical Nursing; and Radiologic Technology.

Mr. Clifford Harmon delivered the keynote address to the Tuesday evening graduates. Mr. Harmon is the Chief Executive Officer at Harrison Community Hospital in Cadiz, Ohio. He has held this position since January 2013. Prior to this, Mr. Harmon was Chief Executive Officer at Bluffton Hospital, Bluffton, OH and Hocking Valley Community Hospital, Logan, Ohio. Mr. Harmon is a graduate of The Ohio State University, and holds a Master of Science in Biochemical Research from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh.

“You have accomplished something significant and important, you will have careers that will make a difference in the lives of others, either at the bedside or supporting someone at the bedside,” said Harmon. “Belmont College has helped you develop your considerable technical skills, I encourage you as well to use the caring and compassion gene each of you possesses. Your patients will remember more for your kindness than your technical skills.”

Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Wednesday, May 14, 2014: Associate of Arts; Associate of Science; Accounting; Bookkeeping; Building Preservation/Restoration; Business Management; Civil Engineering; Criminal Justice; Cyber Security; Data Processing; HVAC; Industrial Electronics; IT Programs; Legal Office; Library Paraprofessional; Office Administration; Office Clerk Specialist; Real Estate; Small Business; and Welding.

The keynote speaker at the Wednesday evening graduation was Ohio Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville). He represents the 30th Senate District, which includes Harrison, Belmont, and Monroe Counties. Senator Gentile also serves as the Assistant Minority Whip of the Senate. Senator Gentile has committed his career to public service, particularly in the areas of economic development and job creation, education, and workforce training. As the former Assistant Director for the Governor's Office of Appalachia, Senator Gentile created and maintained job opportunities through various economic incentive programs in coordination with local businesses.

Senator Gentile serves on the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, the Senate Transportation Committee, the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Reference Committee. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from West Virginia University.

Speaking to the graduates Senator Gentile said, “Graduates, faith and strength brought you to college and carried you through your studies. Now I’m asking you to take one more, great leap of faith. Take a leap of faith in yourself. Take a leap of faith in your hometown. Take a leap of faith in our future here. Graduates, I’ve lived in this region my whole life and I work every day in the state senate pursuing jobs and opportunity in our hometowns. And I am certain of this: there is a future for you right here.

Continuing on he said, “You can go anywhere, and do anything. Keep the faith in Ohio, keep the faith in yourself. And never forget that this community believes that this college is an open door to the American dream.”

During the graduation ceremonies the Ray of Light Award was presented; this award is given each year to members of the Belmont College faculty and/or staff who are nominated by the students. The 2014 recipients of this award were: Marianne Clouston, Instructor of Nursing; and Associate Professor of English Jesse Gipko.

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