Ozarks Technical Community College held its 2023 commencement ceremony at Great Southern Bank Arena at Missouri State University on May 18.
More than 750 Ozarks Technical Community College graduates walked in the 2023 Commencement ceremony, held Thursday, May 18, at Great Southern Bank Arena on the Missouri State University campus.
OTC conferred 2,243 degrees and certificates to graduates this year, including students who have completed or are pending completion of their coursework from the summer 2022 semester through the summer 2023 semester.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson delivered the commencement address to the OTC graduates. Parson told the graduates to work hard and treat people with kindness.
“There’s one thing I want all of you to leave here with today – in Missouri, the American dream is alive and well, and the only way you get it is to work hard,” Governor Parson said. “Work hard and treat people right. You have to be kind, no matter what the circumstances are, remember that rule, just to be kind – life will be a much easier road for you to go down.”
2001 OTC Graduate Craig Dort is OTC’s 2023 Distinguished Alumnus. Now, Dort works for Johnstone Supply — a wholesale dealer of heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning supplies. Craig was a two-time SkillsUSA state champion when he was a heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning student. Craig even represented his country and the college at the World Skills competition in Switzerland in 2003.
The ceremony featured 2023 OTC graduate Haydan Crall as the student speaker. The Lebanon native did not plan to attend college, but a neighbor, Maggie Shelton, who worked at the OTC Waynesville location, convinced him to take classes in Waynesville. The following year, he moved to Springfield to complete his associate degree. Haydan plans to transfer to Missouri State University in the fall to pursue a degree in film.
“Once I began taking classes at OTC, I realized I was capable of far more than I ever imagined,” Crall said. “My journey at OTC has been transformative, and it is a community I am proud to be a part of.”
After the degrees and certificates were conferred, OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon concluded the ceremony by congratulating the graduates and welcoming them into the OTC Alumni Association.