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Rain holds off as OUS honors graduates

High winds and heavy rains swept through the Shafer Courtyard at Ohio University Southern Friday afternoon, but by the time graduates and their loved ones started arriving for the 7 p.m. recognition program, there was nothing but blue skies.

OUS held the ceremony despite threats of storms that would have forced the postponement of the outdoor event. There were a few puddles and some mud to contend with, but no rain in site for the event.

There were 112 associate degrees awarded this quarter at OUS; 162 bachelor’s degrees; and 12 master’s degrees.

Bob Rader, longtime OUS director of maintenance, said he was happy that the ceremony could go on as planned. The school has been hosting outdoor graduate recognition programs since 2002. Before that, they were at Central Christian Church.

Friday afternoon, after storms hit the region, Rader and other OUS staff members worked to dry off all the chairs and bleachers in the courtyard. They also kept close watch of weather conditions and fielded the plethora of calls from worried graduates and their families.

“We’ve never had to reschedule. But, it seems like it rains some every year. … There has been a threat of rain or it has rained right after we got them (graduates) across the stage,” Rader said smiling.

There is no room for a large event at OUS, or, for that matter, any other venue in Ironton, he said. OUS’s Bowman Auditorium holds about 325 people, but there are more than 1,300 seats needed for the program.

One of the graduates honored Friday was Tim Adkins, who received an associate degree in electronic media. He also served as student body president at OUS and graduated with honors.

“I’m very excited. It’s been a lot of hard work and this is the pay off,” he said.

His time at OUS has been a time of growth for him. Adkins said the school has a diverse campus with many different types of people.

“It’s really been an honor for me to be able to represent them,” he said.

Jordan Chapman is also graduating from OUS, but there is another reason for his excitement. He was married this weekend to his fianc/, Amber Tackett.

“It’s just incredible and intense,” said Chapman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in health service administration. “Everything is so wrapped together an it’s exciting to be able to start a new life like this.”

He said, “I wouldn’t trade it for the world. … This is what life is all about.”