For the 2013 graduating class of Jamestown Business College, the future is now.
On Saturday, JBC held its 127th annual commencement ceremony at First Lutheran Church, during which 139 graduates received associate and bachelor degrees, as well as certificates in business administration and administrative assistant programs.
After students and faculty members took their seats to the musical accompaniment of Brian Bogey on the church organ, the ceremony began with an introduction by David Conklin, JBC president. Conklin lauded the graduates for their achievements and willingness to further themselves through pursuing an education.
David Conklin, Jamestown Business College president, opens the college’s 127th annual commencement ceremony with a speech of introduction and congratulations to JBC’s class of 2013.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"While education is a journey worth taking, it is not always an easy one," he said. "In today's complex, fast-paced and ever-changing society, you have been challenged on many fronts as you have pursued your education. Being here today is a testament to your drive, your work ethic, your physical and mental capacity and your desire to have a brighter future."
He added: "You have been challenged, and you've won. Go into your future with confidence, for you truly are a success. I know your family and friends are very proud of you. I am very proud of you. And with great confidence, I know you will represent yourself, and the college, well as you go out and win the future you desire."
Conklin's introduction was followed by a commencement address, delivered by U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning. Reed began his speech by referring to a conversation he had shared with Conklin, in which he learned that a vast majority of the graduates are the first of their families to receive a college degree.
"What you have accomplished here today is something you should be very, very proud of," he said. "You have made a commitment to education. And, as each one of you in the class of 2013 knows, education will empower you for generations to make sure you have the best opportunity to succeed in life.
"As you go forward, remember the moment here, where you rightfully celebrated a great success in your life," he continued. "But never give up the path of getting to the next success. You will do us well, and just enjoy this moment. But when the day is done, go out there and seize it, and you will never regret it."
Speaking for the faculty was Pamela Reese, who encouraged the graduates to seek out and take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.
"No matter how difficult times may be, there is always opportunity for those who are willing to work hard, who are willing to do extra and go above and beyond expectations and who always have a positive attitude," she said. "If I can give you any piece of advice, it's to be solution-oriented. Simply put, be a problem solver."
Gretchen Lindell, dean of the college, then presented awards to six students with the highest grade point averages in the bachelor's and associate degree programs, respectively. The students were: Amy Gustafson, of Warren, Pa.; Kerry Minnis, of Ellington; Elizabeth Rugg, of South Dayton; Brenda Smith, of Dunkirk; and Paige Jones, of Bemus Point.
Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the church parlor for graduates and their friends and family.