More than 750 Ozarks Technical Community College graduates walked in the 2018 Commencement held Thursday, May 17 at JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus.
OTC conferred 2,945 degrees and certificates to graduates this year, which includes students who have completed, or are pending completion of, their coursework from the summer 2017 semester through the spring 2018 semester.
During the ceremony, OTC honored Bryan Newberry as the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Newberry, the assistant chief of operations with the Springfield Fire Department, earned his associate degree in fire science technology from OTC. In addition to his role as assistant chief, Newberry serves as an adjunct instructor in OTC’s Fire Science Technology program. He also serves as chair of the OTC Fire Science Advisory Board.
Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, the president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa, gave the evening’s commencement address. Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters internationally. Tincher-Ladner is the third leader of the organization, which celebrates its centennial in 2018.
In her address, Tincher-Ladner advised the graduates to “do the jobs that no one wants to do.” She encouraged the graduates to “lead from where they are” and surround themselves with a “tight-knit circle of personal advisors.”
Tincher-Ladner also praised OTC’s efforts in preparing its students for successful futures. To conclude her speech, she asked the graduates to remember their roots.
“From this point forward, you are alumni of Ozarks Technical Community College,” she said. “No matter what your next steps are, remember your first steps were here at OTC.”
At the end of the ceremony, OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon congratulated the graduates and welcomed them into the OTC Alumni Association.