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Fruits of their labors: Over 500 students graduate from Riverland Friday

Riverland Community College said goodbye to 547 students on Friday, when commencements were held at Riverland’s Austin gymnasium.

Of that number, 230 participated in two ceremonies.

Riverland Community College students line up for 2017 commencement Friday afternoon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“I am delighted to be here for this important occasion and glad that each of you — family, friends, faculty, college staff and especially our newest graduates — is here to join us as we celebrate and honor the successful conclusion of each graduate’s hard work, dedication and effort,” said Riverland President, Dr. Adenuga Atewologun.

The first commencement, held in the afternoon, awarded diplomas to students in the career/technical programs. The evening ceremony honored the students graduating in associate in arts, art, applied technology, business, human services and radiography.

Graduates of career programs are now ready to enter into the workforce, while students with associate degrees may chose to continue their study at a four-year college or university, or begin a career.

Graduates in Friday’s ceremonies include those from fall, spring and summer semesters. Students attended the Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna campuses and enrolled in Riverland’s online courses.

Ages of graduates ranged from 17 to 74. Thirty-five percent of the graduates are 22 years old or younger; 65 percent are over 22 years.

Keynote speaker was Jeff Fetters, chairman and CEO of Federated Insurance. Catherine Haslag, chemistry instructor, provided the faculty welcome.

David Anguria of Austin was the student speaker for the afternoon ceremony. Teagan Kempe of Albert Lea spoke at the evening commencement.

Friday’s ceremonies marked the college’s 76th graduation.