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News 2015

Belmont College Honors the Class of 2015

Attached photo: Belmont College Student Government Association President Luke Rossini (left) and Phi Theta Kappa President Maddie Harrision (right), both of St. Clairsville, Ohio are pictured with Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr. who served as commencement speaker.


St. Clairsville, OH (May 8, 2015) – Belmont College officials conferred degrees upon a multitude of graduates as part of the

college’s 2015 spring graduation ceremony in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Hundreds of parents, extended family, faculty, and staff were present to congratulate the Class of 2015. 


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 went on to say, “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.”


The Class of 2015 valedictorian was Leroy Dunham of Flushing, Ohio. Dunham received an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Computer science and earned a grade-point-average of 4.0. He graduated with honors and serves as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for two-year colleges.


The class co-salutatorians were Ben Johnson of St. Clairsville, Ohio, who earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Welding, and Samantha Bryson of Springfield, Ohio, who earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Library Paraprofessional. Both salutatorians achieved a grade-point-average of 3.94 and graduated with honors.  Bryson also serves as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for two-year colleges.


The keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony was Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.


Judge Sargus currently serves on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He was nominated to the bench by President Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate on July 22, 1996. He is one of four District Court Judges seated in Columbus, together with three judges on senior status. On January 1, 2015, he became Chief Judge for the Southern District of Ohio.


In 1975, Sargus graduated with an honors degree in American History from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1978, he graduated from the Case Western Reserve School of Law, where he was Vice President of the Student Bar Association.


Speaking to the graduates Judge Sargus said,“With your degree from such a great college, you have a great future ahead. Pursue your dreams: don’t feel failure. If your uniform isn’t dirty, you haven’t been playing.”


During the graduation ceremony the Ray of Light Award was presented; this award is given each year to members of Belmont College faculty and/or staff who are nominated by students for meeting the following criteria: the employee energized the student in a special way; the employee motivated the student to succeed; the employee helped promote a learning-centered environment; and the employee made a difference in the life of the student.


The 2015 recipient of this award was Ms. Elaine McLeskey, Professor of Early Childhood Education. 


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