New OUS graduates recognized

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening for a graduation. The sun was brightly shining, there was a light breeze and a sense of excitement filled the air, as family members, graduates and staff members gathered to recognize the 2006 Ohio University Southern class.

OUS hosted its graduation ceremony Friday evening outside in the courtyard. There were 152 who received associate degrees, 141 with bachelor’s degrees and 26 with master’s degrees.

Kim Keffer, enrollment services director, said the graduation is a time of celebration for everyone at OUS. She said the event is one of her three favorites on campus, the other being orientation and the student awards presentation.

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“It’s just a time to reflect on how far we have come,” Keffer said. “It just gives the graduates to celebrate the work they have done.”

She said the diverse programs offer a variety of people the opportunity to make their educational goals come true at OUS. In the future, she said, the school hopes to expand its degree programs even more to attract a broader group of students.

As is the tradition at OUS, graduates came from all walks of life. Many were traditional students in their early 20s, others were retired grandparents and some had completed their degrees while working and raising a family.

Two of those people who are considered

“non-traditional” graduates were mother and daughter, Jeannetta Hornbuckle and Marva Hornbuckle-Adkins, both of whom walked proudly through the graduation Saturday.

Hornbuckle, 54, a mother of four, graduated with an associate degree in nursing. Having her daughter by her side for support made her educational journey easier, she said.

“It was great having her on campus. We could always share information and be there for each other,” she said.

Most people who know the mother-daughter duo said they thought it was “pretty cool” they would be graduating at the same time, Hornbuckle said.

Hornbuckle-Adkins, 36, said getting her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice was like “ new beginning” for her. She plans on continuing her education.

Jennifer Risner has also traveled a long road to get her associate’s degree in arts and humanities. For the past few years, the 23-year-old has been working as a student at OUS and an interpreter for the deaf while trying to complete her degree. During this time, she has been faced with her husband being deployed with the 216th Engineering Battalion in Iraq and the birth of their daughter.

“This (graduating) is something I’ve been waiting for a long time,” she said with a smile.

Risner interpreted during Friday’s ceremony.

“This (OUS) has offered me such a family environment,” she said. “Everyone really tries to work with you and accommodate your schedule. It’s been a great experience.”