PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH – One thousand two hundred six candidates for graduation, including 196 from the Findlay-area Campus, will receive their degrees during the 45th annual Owens Community College Spring Commencement on Friday, May 6. The commencement will begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Health and Activities Center on the College’s Toledo-area Campus.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown will serve as the keynote speaker for the College’s Spring Commencement. Owens’ commencement ceremony is free and open to the public.
Since assuming office in January 2007, Sen. Brown has held more than a 170 community roundtables across the state, visiting each of Ohio’s 88 counties at least once to talk with local leaders, business owners, educators and citizens with the goal of finding ways to rebuild the nation’s middle class.
Believing that our nation’s higher education system – especially Ohio’s community college system – is critical to the country’s economic competitiveness, Sen. Brown convened a first-of-its-kind Ohio College Presidents Conference in Washington, D.C., now in its fourth year. The conference brings together more than 50 presidents from Ohio’s four- and two-year colleges and universities in order to expand higher education access and affordability, support opportunities for research and innovation, and connect higher education with high schools and workforce needs.
A native of Mansfield, where he spent time on a family farm and earned his Eagle Scout, Brown is Ohio’s first senator in 40 years to sit on the Agriculture Committee. He also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee where he works to ensure that Ohio receives its fair share of federal investments. And as a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Brown is working to ensure veterans receive the benefits they have earned. Brown also serves on the Senate Banking Committee, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection.
Sen. Brown is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz. They reside in Avon and have three daughters, a son and a grandson, all of whom reside in Ohio.
Christine Drath, a diagnostic medical sonography student, has been selected as the Owens class representative and will address the graduates during the Spring Commencement ceremony.
The Toledo resident was born the third of four children to a father with a 10th grade education and a mother with a high school diploma. Her family received public assistance in the form of welfare for the majority of her childhood.
At the age of 14, she began working in the restaurant industry. It served as a life-changing experience for Drath as she discovered she could live independently and take care of herself with steady employment. Making a promise to set a good example for her own two children Nicholas and William, ages 13 and 15, respectively, Drath continued to advance in her career and recently served as an accounting clerk. However, she always knew she wanted more for herself and her family.
As the boys grew up, Drath found herself with a little more spare time and decided four years ago to make a significant decision to pursue her educational and career aspirations by enrolling at Owens.
“I was terrified to attend Owens. I didn’t know if I was smart enough or good enough,” said Drath, 1993 Whitmer High School graduate.
Drath, now age 35, soon discovered that she did have what it takes to excel in college. Today, she graduates summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average and as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa and Chi Alpha Epsilon honor societies. She also was nominated for this year’s Allied Health Honor Award in addition to receiving the prestigious honor of representing her graduating class as the student speaker.
She credits her success to an incredible amount of hard work, the support of her children and the support of the faculty at Owens, especially Susan Perry.
After graduation, she plans on working at the University of Michigan as an ultrasound technician. She hopes that one day she can continue her education and help other new graduates by becoming an ultrasound practitioner, a position reserved for highly educated ultrasound technicians.
Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.
- Owens Community College