Southern State celebrates 48th commencement


Southern State Community College recognized the graduating class of 2024 during its 48th annual commencement ceremony held May 3 in the college’s Patriot Center.

The evening’s festivities began with an invocation provided by graduate Paulette Goerler of Highland County, followed by the singing of the national anthem.

Southern State Board of Trustees Chair Rachel Cummings of Adams County, along with SSCC Faculty Senate President James Barnett and SSCC President Dr. Nicole Roades welcomed the graduates, their families, friends and supporters.

“The graduates we are celebrating this evening have persisted in their commitment to earning a college degree or certificate,” said Roades. “On behalf of the Southern State team, we could not be more proud of you and your accomplishment.”

Of the 312 graduates in the 2024 class, 272 earned associate degrees and 40 were awarded certificates. They join the nearly 13,000 graduate and certificate holders before them. Also, 82 students who received their associate degree will be graduating high school this spring through their participation in College Credit Plus.

Commencement speaker Charles Gorman delivered an inspiring commencement address to the graduates.

“I have three things to say this evening,” Gorman said. “Value that person you see in the mirror every morning. If you do not value yourself, no one else will either. Value the diploma you will receive this evening. It reflects that you have attained a certain level of critical thinking skills needed to solve problems, yours and others,” he noted.

Lastly, Gorman encouraged the graduates to appreciate the degree they worked so hard to earn. “Value what Southern State provides to you and your community. Pride yourself in rising to challenges and solving the problems that exist in your community. It is a good thing to live, love and laugh right here in our backyard. These are part of our Appalachian values. Do not sell them short,” Gorman said.

Concluding the ceremony was the benediction provided by graduate Amanda Hitt of Adams County.

Submitted by Elizabeth Burkard, director of marketing, SSCC.

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