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WVU Tech celebrates class of 2019 at 120th Commencement ceremony

WVU Tech graduates stand in their blue caps and gowns, programs open in front of them, as they sing the University's alma mater.

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, friends and family packed the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center arena on Saturday for WVU Tech's 120th Commencement ceremony.

The event honored nearly 200 graduates.

Dr. Joan Neff, Campus Provost, reminded the crowd that their time at WVU Tech was well-spent, and that the day's events did not represent a goodbye.

“You learned your subject matter and studied hard. You got to know your classmates, faculty, support staff and the communities around you, and you have reached out to help others even though you did not know them.
 
“No matter what challenge lies ahead of you, you have people who support you and are here to help you continue your journey. You are part of the Golden Bear family forever, and we are so very proud of you,” she said.

Thomas V. Flaherty, founding member of the law firm Flaherty, Sensabaugh and Bonasso, LLC, served as commencement speaker.

He shared with graduates the story of a first-generation student from a blue-collar family. A young man with "poor study habits," no money and little direction in life who, because of his education, went on to lead a successful career spanning five decades.

He went on to share his ten attributes for success and encouraged student to carry the day's enthusiasm into the rest of their lives.

“One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, right here, right now in this single, solitary, monumental moment of your life, is resolve to live every day of the rest of your life with enthusiasm and passion. Wake up each day and resolve that what you do that day is important if for no other reason than you're trading a day of your life for it. No matter what you do, seize the day, every day," he said.

Representing the graduates, WVU Tech Student Government Association president Luke Jobson offered thanks to those who helped get each and every student to the stage.

"To the professors who taught us the content, answered every silly question we had and took the time out of your lives to teach us, thank you. To the staff that helped make us feel welcome from day one, thank you. To the coaches who gave athletes the chance to pursue our dreams of becoming a collegiate athlete, who pushed us to improve and took us under their wings both on and off the field, thank you.

"And to our friends and family for putting up with everything we threw at you from birth until now, for helping us achieve our dreams, for molding us to be the people that we are today and for supporting us through thick and thin, we thank you," he said.

The ceremony also recognized several award-wining students. Luke Jobson was honored as the SHAPE America Major of the Year for his accomplishments as a student-athlete. Graduates Tyesha White and Brittan McClain were each recognized by their colleges with the prestigious Presidential Leadership Award - the highest honor a student can receive at WVU Tech.

Watch video of the ceremony on YouTube. Photos of the event will be made available on the University's Flickr account.