Ohio University Eastern Dean Paul Abraham congratulates New Alexandria’s Joseph Stuart on earning a bachelor’s degree in applied management.
Photographer: E. J. Schodzinski
May 6, 2014
By E. J. Schodzinski
ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – Ohio University’s Eastern Campus honored graduates, scholarship recipients and student leaders at the Honors and Recognition Convocation Friday evening at the Health and Physical Education Center in St. Clairsville.
Campus Dean Paul Abraham welcomed the graduates and honorees and was followed by the student speaker, Zachary Kinnick, and the keynote speaker, the Honorable Edmund A. Sargus Jr.
“This is my first year at the Eastern Campus and as a dean,” said Abraham. “It has truly been amazing to learn first-hand about the campus, its faculty, staff, students and campus friends and associates. Tonight’s event, which will be rich in ceremony, symbolism and hand clapping, is a mere reflection of the enormous pride the campus and community shares in what our students accomplish every day at OUE. I hope that the 2014 convocation will be memorable to all.”
Kinnick, a member of the 2014 graduating class, was honored by Abraham for achieving excellence in the classroom. The St. Clairsville High School alumnus earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and will begin the doctoral program in physical therapy in Athens this fall. He achieved an overall GPA of 3.9 at OUE and finished the demanding program in three years.
“Wow, how time flies. It feels like we began this journey just yesterday,” said Kinnick. “Yet, here we are, ready to graduate. Earning a college degree is a huge accomplishment, and we should all be very proud of ourselves.
“However, it must be noted that we did not do this on our own. This would not have been possible without the help of all of the wonderful people that work on this campus, as well as the support of our families.
“I would especially like to thank Dr. Robert Galbreath, Dr. Mark Waters and Mr. Kim Butler, the exercise physiology faculty members, who have prepared me so well for graduate school. You challenged me like I have never been challenged before, and the knowledge that I gained as a result is simply amazing. Because of your efforts, I am ready for the rigors of PT school and I cannot thank you enough.
“Before we move on, it is also important to stop and recognize how lucky we are to have this University so close to home. The advantages of being able to graduate from Ohio University while attending classes in St. Clairsville are endless. I was able to save thousands of dollars in tuition, graduate debt free and develop a deeper relationship with the faculty. Not many college students can say that these days, and, for that, I personally am truly grateful.”
The Honorable Edmund A. Sargus Jr. graduated with honors from Brown University and Case Western Reserve School of Law. He practiced law and served as special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General from 1979-1993.
In 1993, Sargus Jr. was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, which covers 48 of Ohio's 88 counties, including Belmont County as well as Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.
He was nominated by President Clinton for a second time in 1996 and confirmed by the United States Senate as a federal district judge for the Southern District of Ohio. The St. Clairsville native is set to become the Chief Judge of the eight active and seven senior judges later this year. He has also been a member of the OUE Fitness Center for nearly two decades.
Sargus Jr. and his wife, Jennifer, have been married for 36 years and are the proud parents of two sons, Ed and Christopher.
“You are graduating from an outstanding University with a very long and proud history. Ohio University began in 1804, before Ohio was even a state,” said Sargus Jr. “In the 1960s, Ohio University saw the great need for students to obtain a world-class education in their own communities. The solution in our part of the state has been Ohio University Eastern, which has educated thousands in the years following. I am most proud that my father, for whom I am named, was a state senator in this time frame and was instrumental in the creation of this fine institution.”
Sargus Jr. also talked in detail to the graduates about how the economy is affected by rapid changes in technology. He explained how these breakthroughs have created some jobs while eliminating others and, as a result, predicted a future of uncertainty as these new technologies continuously re-order the economy.
“Education, which has in all times been very important, is even more so in what we know will be a turbulent time ahead. Because of the education you have completed at Ohio University, you are versatile…as the economic grounds shift, as they no doubt will, you have broad based knowledge that will allow you to perform many new tasks.”
Sargus Jr. continued, “My wife, Jenny, and I are excited for each of you....you have worked very hard and you have shaped your futures. We see so much potential….so much potential in all of you and wish you the best in the years to come. God bless all of you and your families.”
Abraham then invited Belmont County Commissioners Ginny Favede and Mark Thomas to the podium. The commissioners recognized the Honorable Jennifer Smart Sargus, recently retired as Common Pleas Court Judge, with a proclamation dedicated to her 24 years of outstanding service to the residents of Belmont County.
Sargus, who holds the distinction as the first female judge in the county, also played an integral part in developing the Belmont County Mediation Program, Domestic Magistrate Program, Intensive Probation Program, and Drug Court.
She is a graduate of the Vanderbilt School of Law and has also served as an instructor at the Ohio State University and the National Judicial College in Reno, Nev.
"Judge Sargus is an extraordinary woman who has served the Belmont County Judicial System with intellect and grace,” shared Commissioner Favede. “She has served as Belmont County’s first female judge and as a strong role model for women leaders. She embodies dignity and exercises fairness to all. She is a kind and genuine woman whom I admire and respect.”
Favede continued, “Jennifer’s accomplishments are many both in the courtroom as well as in the home as she has raised two wonderful sons in her career. It is my honor to recognize her today. Her contributions to the social fabric of our county are immeasurable. She leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire young women in law and politics. Judge Sargus followed in her mother’s footsteps and has blazed a path for many women to come.”
Abraham concluded the ceremony by congratulating this year’s candidates on earning their Ohio University degrees, while also thanking the faculty for putting them to the test every step of the way. “The great psychologist B.F. Skinner once said that education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. Life is full of unexpected and unique challenges and precisely why an education at OUE is founded heavily on critical thinking and writing and learning how to learn.
“I am most proud that our esteemed faculty has been extremely dedicated to your learning and equally proud of what you have accomplished. Consequently, I feel confident that we are sending you into the world inspired to make a difference and with more courage and confidence than when you came through the doors a few short years ago. Congratulations to all of you on a job well done and special thanks to your family and friends who helped make this day possible for you.”
The following academic awards were presented to graduates at Ohio University Eastern’s Honors and Recognition Convocation on Friday:
Outstanding Bachelor of Applied Management Student – Jennifer Fox
Outstanding Communication Studies Student – James McMahon
Outstanding Criminal Justice Student – Mark Gerevics
Outstanding Early Childhood Education Student – Rachel McIntosh
Outstanding Physiology of Exercise Student – Zachary Kinnick
Outstanding Social Work Student – Nicole Lewis
Outstanding Specialized Studies Student – Michelle Harris
Outstanding Technical and Applied Studies Student – James McMahon