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News 2019

Belmont College Honors the Class of 2019

St. Clairsville, OH (May 2, 2019) – Belmont College officials conferred degrees upon a multitude of graduates as part of the college’s 2019 Spring Graduation Ceremonies in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Hundreds of parents, extended family, faculty, and staff were present to congratulate the Class of 2019.


Belmont College’s Class of 2019 Salutatorian, Melinda Koslik of Wheeling, West Virginia (center) is pictured with Dr. Paul Gasparro (left), President and Commencement Speaker, Mr. John Carey, Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia.

President Dr. Paul F. Gasparro welcomed the graduates, “I want to offer my warmest congratulations to our graduates. You have worked long and hard to be here tonight, and this ceremony is just the beginning of your future. Graduating from college is a major life accomplishment, and we are pleased to be able to share this momentous occasion with you.”


He continued, “Remember, no matter how far or how high you travel, you started here and you have a great foundation to build on. Tonight, is your night and I hope that you enjoy and celebrate it. We are very proud of your achievement and wish you good health, happiness, and continued success in whatever path you choose for your future.”


Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Thursday, May 2, 2019: Accounting; Associate of Arts; Associate of Science; Bookkeeping; Building Preservation/Restoration; Business Administration and Leadership; Civil Engineering; Computer Applications; Criminal Justice; Cyber Security; Early Childhood Education; Electronic Media; Emergency Medical Services Paramedic; Graphic Design; HVAC; Industrial Electronics; Instrumentation and Control; Legal Office; Library Paraprofessional; Maintenance Technician; Mental Health; Networking; Payroll Clerk; PC/Network Technician; Pipeline Welder Helper; Process Control; Radiology; and Welding.


(Left to right) Dr. Paul Gasparro, Belmont College President; Commencement Speaker, Mrs. Cara Gazdik, Clinical Director of Nursing at Wheeling Hospital; and Associate Degree Nursing Graduates Tiffany Johnson from Bridgeport, Ohio and Taylor Wissmann from St. Clarisville, Ohio.

Mr. John Caery delivered the keynote address to the Thursday evening graduates. Carey was appointed Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia by Governor Mike DeWine in February 2019. The Governor’s Office of Appalachia works to coordinate economic and community development initiatives to improve the lives of those living in the 32-county region. Carey also served as the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education from 2013 – 2018. As Chancellor, he worked to align higher education programs with Ohio’s job creation and workforce needs. Carey also implemented initiatives that increased collaboration among colleges, universities, technical schools and local businesses and community organizations.


Prior to joining the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Carey was Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at Shawnee State University. He led university workforce initiatives, working closely with local businesses. Carey served in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate. He was the Mayor of Wellston for seven years.


A graduate of Ohio University, he lives in Wellston with his wife, Lynley, and two sons.


“Graduation is an exciting milestone but it doesn’t end today,” said Carey to the graduates. “You will each learn things that we cannot even imagine today.  Embrace life-long learning as part of your journey.”


Additionally, graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 3, 2019: Allied Health Administration; Medical Assisting; Medical Coding; Phlebotomy Technician; Registered Nursing; and Transitional Program for Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nursing.


The keynote speaker at the Friday evening graduation was Mrs. Cara Gazdik. She is the Clinical Director of Nursing at Wheeling Hospital. Gazdik is certified in emergency trauma nursing, and is also a nationally registered EMT/ firefighter. She worked at East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, Ohio, for more than 15 years as an ICU Nurse, Emergency Room Nurse, Staff Nurse in the Emergency Department and eventually as their Nurse Manager/Director. She also worked part time as the school nurse for St. Clairsville Schools and took certification courses in pediatric and school nursing.


Gazdik is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit College (now University) with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and also holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialization in Education in Nursing from the University of Phoenix.


Speaking to the graduates Gazdick said, “I hope I’ve instilled in you the passion and drive it takes to be a successful health care provider, one who not only gives to his or her patients, but receives from them as well.


The Class of 2019 Valedictorian is Sarah Aly of Denair, California. She earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Building Preservation/Restoration. Sarah earned a grade point average of 4.0 and graduated with honors. She is now working as the site manager at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Site Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


The class Salutatorian is Melinda Koslik of Wheeling, West Virginia, who earned an Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Media. She achieved a grade-point-average of 3.986 and graduated with honors. Koslik is now working at Orrick, Herington & Sutcliff and is also services a councilman for the City of Wheeling.


Additionally, a pinning ceremony was held during the Friday evening commencement ceremony to honor the graduating Medical Assisting and Associate Degree Nursing students.


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