On Thursday, June 9, 2016, the air buzzed with excitement as the ANU Columbus Campus graduates were lined up to process to their seats for their college graduation. The Xenos auditorium, full of friends and family, became completely silent when the music began for the processional.
Once all were seated, the invocation was delivered by Dr. Kelvin Webb, an ordained minister and long-time instructor for the campus. Debbie Banfield, a local singing talent, then performed “The Star Spangled Banner” a capella. Campus director Joseph DeLuca formally welcomed everyone and introduced the commencement speaker, Michael Stinziano, a member of the Columbus City Council and former State Representative.
Councilman Stinziano spoke of the excitement of graduation from college. He praised the students for continuing their education, and suggested they continue on their path to higher education. “A good education can never be taken from you,” he said. “It is something that will better your life and the lives of those you love. I encourage you each to keep going.”
“We made it!”
He continued by discussing his love of public service, and of his work serving in multiple public service positions in local, state and federal government. In closing, Councilman Stinziano wished the graduates much success in their endeavors and encouraged them to always reach for the stars.
Student speaker Hurl-Lu Waugh, a medical assisting student who graduated with high honors, also spoke to the graduates and their guests. “I can’t believe we are really here,” Hurl-Lu exclaimed. “We started this journey together and I have to poke myself – we made it!”
Hurl-Lu, who became certified as a registered medical assistant (RMA) and was hired by his externship site, continued by reflecting on his journey at ANU. He spoke of serving on the Student Activities Council and that group’s volunteer efforts at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. He also wished his fellow graduates all the best, and concluded that he had a great college experience at American National University and was very thankful and appreciative to all of those involved along the way.
The presentation of awards followed. The Achievement Award was presented to Jude Ochama; the E.M. Coulter Award to Felicia Osei Assibey; the Leadership Award to Hurl-Lu L. Waugh; and the Joseph E. Hurn Award to Teshena Gwendolyn Ackerman. In addition, the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award went to Jeffrey Strazdins, a business administration-management graduate and former Marine, who now manages a local restaurant.
Following the awards, diplomas were awarded by campus director Joseph DeLuca, and the Class of 2016 redirected their tassels. The graduates recessed to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and finally--celebration!
Photo A-Columbus City Councilman Michael Stinziano is pictured during his commencement address to the ANU Columbus Campus Class of 2016.
Photo B-Leadership Award recipient Hurl-Lu Waugh is pictured accepting his plaque from director of health science education Stephanie List during the commencement ceremony.