Two hundred thirty-five Bluefield State College students received degrees during Saturday's Baccalaureate Degree portion of the institution's 100th Commencement Exercises at the Ned Shott Gymnasium on the BSC campus. Altogether, 465 degrees were conferred during Bluefield State College's Associate Degree and Baccalaureate Degree graduations this weekend.
Bluefield attorney J. Franklin Long, a BSC graduate, delivered Saturday's Commencement Address. A member of the Bluefield State College Foundation executive board and past president of the Mountain State Bar Association, Long's address centered on "failures, experiences, and habits." He told the graduates and guests, "Name and then forget your failures, claim and benefit from your experiences, and ingrain and develop good habits. We build our characters from the bricks of habit we lay, day by day," he noted. "Each brick seems like a little thing, but before we are aware of it, we have built a house we have to live in."
Charles W. Mossor, who received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology degree, was recognized as BSC's 1997 valedictorian and Fred J. Weber, Jr., who received a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, was honored as the BSC class of '96 salutatorian.
Well-known Bluefield philanthropist and volunteer June Oblinger Shott received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Bluefield State College during the program. She is a member and vice-chair of the BSC Institutional Board of Advisors, the BSC Foundation executive board. Two years ago, her gift to the College permitted the establishment of a new scholarship program, and the College, last September, named its new Center for Extended Learning in her honor.
Sheila Parks, Associate Professor of Nursing, received the "BSC Foundation Outstanding Faculty Award." A BSC nursing faculty member, Parks is very active in a variety of HIV/AIDS education programs on a local, state, and national level. Later this month, for the third consecutive year, she will work as a nursing health volunteer at an Indian reservation in South Dakota.
Twenty-seven returning members of the BSC class of 1947 were honored upon the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the College during Saturday's Commencement Exercises.