Riverland graduates 260 at spring semester#039;s end

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Riverland Community College graduated 260 students this spring.

Combined with fall semester graduates, the total this year is over 560.

Dr. Gary L. Rhodes,

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RCC president, welcomed students and guests to the commencement ceremonies held May 22 at riverside Arena in Austin. Rhodes said commencement was the "culmination of the dedication, commitment and self-sacrifice demonstrated by our students."

"We want to celebrate their success and

provide a memorable event in honor of their achievements," Rhodes said.

The RCC class of 2002 included students from fall and spring semesters from

the Albert Lea and Austin campuses and the Owatonna College and University Center.


percent of the graduates received associate in arts degrees, while the remainder earned degrees, certificates and diplomas from various Riverland career programs.

The graduates of career programs will be ready immediately to enter the work force.

Students with AA degrees may choose to continue their education at a four-year college or university or begin their careers with a 2-year degree.

According to Amy M. Wagner, director of marketing and public relations for RCC, the age range of the class of 2002 is between 17 and 60. "Approximately 45 percent of the graduates

are 21 year or younger and 55 percent are over 21," she said.

State Senator Grace Schwab delivered the keynote address

Mary Choate, chair, and Dr. Penny Reynen, executive director Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees, also addressed the commencement audience.

Reynen was an English instructor at the community college in Austin, who became director of the college's women's center and then director of admissions, marketing and development before being named to the MnSCU board of trustees position in 2000.

The Riverland Briars provided special music

Student remarks came from Bryan Gerber, a popular performing arts students at the college, and Steve Perthel, president of the Albert Lea student senate.

Gerber, a 2001 Southland High School graduate, earned an associates of arts degree from RCC this spring.

Perthel of Adams earned a construction electrician degree this spring.

Terry Dilley provided faculty remarks to the graduates. Dilley has taught sociology and philosophy at the community college in Austin for 37 years.

Allen Larson, founder and owner of Larson Contracting,

was this year's honorary degree recipient.

Elliot Dubinsky was an honorary degree recipient in 2001. Other honorary degree recipients include Dan Dorman in December 2000, Dr. Roger Boughton in May 2000 and Timothy McManimon on May 1998.

Dr. Michael K. Bequette, senior vice president of academic affairs/CAO, Gary Schindler, vice president of student affairs, and college president Rhodes conferred degrees upon the graduates.

A reception for the students was held at Holiday Inn of Austin Conference Center.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at :mailto:lee.bonorden@austindailyherald.com