Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe
Stephanie Antone, left, and Morgan Ray display their diplomas in a reception after graduating from Gogebic Community College, having studied psychology and criminal justice, respectively. Antoine is pursuing a degree in counseling from Western Michigan University in the fall, and Ray plans to work now that she has completed her studies at GCC.
IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP — The Lindquist Student Center gym was filled to the rafters with pride and excitement Friday night as Gogebic Community College's class of 2013 celebrated its graduation ceremony.
The college conferred 289 certificates and degrees.
GCC President James Lorenson welcomed the students and told them that celebrating their success at graduation is the high point of the academic year.
GCC Board of Trustees Chairman John Lupino addressed the students about their future. He shared a bit of wisdom from noted psychologist and author Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “I hope you will be able to say I am who I always wanted to be.”
Rear Admiral Steven E. Day, a 1973 graduate of GCC, and former Samson basketball player, gave the commencement address.
“My foundation started here. I hope that you will say the same, that your education at GCC gave you the foundation for higher education.” Day said. Day went on to attend Northern Michigan University, the University of Wisconsin-Steven's Point, Harvard, MIT, the Naval War College and Army War College. He currently serves as Acting Director of Reserve and Military Personnel Policy for the U.S. Coast Guard.
“In any endeavor you choose to pursue, ask yourself, are you committed or are you interested?” Day said. Day defined commitment as: "No excuses, just results."
Day stressed the importance of education, personal leadership, and leadership of others to the graduates.
Day credited his former coach Gene Farrell and his teammates for teaching him about personal leadership. “Every choice has consequences, both positive and negative,” he said. “You have a choice each and every day.”
Many of the graduates overcame obstacles in reaching their degrees and certificates, said Dean of Students Jeanne Graham.
Working multiple jobs, raising a family, fighting serious illness and battling the snow into the last week of classes were some of the difficulties members of the class of 2013 contended with, she said.