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News 2021

Belmont College Honors the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021


St. Clairsville, OH (May 8, 2021) – Belmont College officials conferred degrees upon a multitude of graduates as part of the College’s 2020 and 2021 Spring Graduation Ceremonies in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Hundreds of parents, extended family, faculty, and staff were present to congratulate the Class of 2020 and 2021.  


President Dr. Paul F. Gasparro welcomed the graduates, “This is always a proud moment for the Belmont College community. I know I speak for our entire community in congratulating the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 and in welcoming your family and friends joining us today.”


He continued, “We started this past year at a moment that was historic on so many levels – in the midst of a global pandemic. And with that, I welcome the opportunity to pause today for this special tradition of commencement. It’s a chance to celebrate our graduates and all the of their hard work and successes.”


“This year, and this month especially, is a particularly significant moment in the history of Belmont College,” said Gasparro. “50 years ago, this month in May of 1971, Belmont College officially become a part of the Ohio Valley. As we approach this milestone, we reflect on just how far we’ve come, from our founding in 1971. As you graduate today, I hope that you share in the pride we have for Belmont College, as we look fondly back on the past, celebrate the present, and work towards an even brighter future.”


Because the College is continuing to follow guidance from Governor DeWine’s office, safety protocols were in place, including social distancing and facial coverings for everyone on campus, including graduates and guests. Four separate ceremonies were held to allow for proper social distancing to accommodate all graduates and their guestsThese ceremonies acknowledged both the Class of 2020 and 2021, as the Class of 2020’s ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic.


The combined classes of 2020 and 2021 graduated nearly 300 students, with more than 150 of them graduating in 2021.


Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony
held on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 4:00PM: Allied Health Administration; Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic; Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic Cert.; Firefighter; Medical Assisting; Medical Coding Certificate; Phlebotomy Certificate; and Radiology.


Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 7:00PM: Practical Nursing Certificate; Registered Nursing; and Transitional Curriculum for Practical Nurses.


Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 4:00PM: Associate of Arts; Associate of Science; Computerized Legal Office Specialist; Criminal Justice; Early Childhood Education; HVAC Technology; HVAC Technology Certificate; Legal Office Specialist Certificate; Mental Health; Pipeline Welder Helper I Certificate; Pipeline Welder Helper II Certificate; Welding Fabricator Certificate; Welding Technology; and Welding Technology Certificate.


Graduates from the following programs participated in the commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 7, 2021 at 7:00PM: Accounting; Bookkeeper I Certificate; Bookkeeper II Certificate; Building Preservation & Restoration; Business Administration & Leadership; Civil Engineering; Computer Applications Certificate; Cyber Security & Computer Forensics; Cyber Security Certificate; Electronic Media; Energy and Natural Resources; Engineering Applications Certificate; General Bookkeeping Certificate; Graphic Design Certificate; Industrial Electronics Technology; Instrumentation and Control; Library Paraprofessional; Maintenance Technician I Certificate; Maintenance Technician II Certificate; Natural Resources Certificate; Networking; Payroll Clerk Certificate; PC/Networking Technician Certificate; Process Technician; Process Control Certificate; and Software Development Fundamentals Certificate.


Chancellor Randy Gardner delivered the keynote address to the graduates through a pre-recorded video message that was played during each ceremony. Gardner was appointed by Governor Mike DeWine the 10th Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education in January 2019. As Chancellor, he oversees the state’s two-year and four-year colleges and universities and Ohio Technical Centers. In addition, the Chancellor provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly and carries out state higher education policy. 


“COVID-19 might be able to prevent you from having what you would consider to be a normal school year capped with one large commencement ceremony,” said Chancellor Gardner. “But I would contend that no virus can diminish what this achievement truly means. So, congratulations for the choice you made for college, and for earning your degree.” 


He continued, “There are many Ohioans who haven’t achieved what you have. It’s amazing to know that 800,000 adult Ohioans don’t have a high school diploma, and more than 1.5 million Ohioans have attended college but did not complete a degree or credential. But let me assure you that a college degree or credential provides an enhanced advantage for you, even more critical in an economy ravaged by the impact of a global pandemic. You are now more competitive. You have an opportunity to find a way to the workplace even though it may be much more challenging than it was at the beginning of 2020.”


The Class Co-Valedictorians are Houston Adkins from Bluecreek, Ohio and Preston Zink of St. Clairsville, Ohio. Adkins earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Building Preservation/Restoration, while Zink earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Civil Engineering as well as an Engineering Applications Certificate in Natural Resources. Both graduates completed with a 4.0 GPA.


The class Salutatorian is Lindsay Hess of Shadyside. Ohio. She earned an Associate of Applied Science in Welding, as well as certificates in Welding, Welding Fabricator, Pipeline Welder Helper I and II. She completed with a 3.954 GPA.


Additionally, two pinning ceremonies were held during the Thursday commencement ceremonies. One was held during the 4:00PM service to honor the Medical Assisting graduates and another during the 7:00PM service to the spring Associate Degree Nursing students.


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