Congratulations to the Class of 2011!

Ohio Christian University Class of 2011

Ohio Christian University proudly presented the Class of 2011 on Saturday, April 30th. Please join us in congratulating our newest alumni!

Two Circleville residents earned the top academic honors out of 285 students who received their degrees Saturday from Ohio Christian University during its 61st commencement in the Maxwell Center. Christine Zimmerman was the class valedictorian, while salutatorian honors went to Lauren Bivens, both earning their honors for high grade point averages.

"Lauren was one of our dual-enrollment students," said Dr. Hank Kelly, executive vice president of OCU. "She already had one year of college classwork completed by the time she graduated from Circleville High School." Teays Valley and Circleville high schools offer their students the opportunity to get a head start on college studies through the post-secondary enrollment option (PSEO) program. Kelly said the PSEO classes are taught both online and on the high school campuses as a convenience for the students.

Zimmerman also was selected as the Honor Graduate for the traditional program, which consists primarily of semester-long daytime classes.
The Honor Graduate for the adult (AIM) program was Henrietta White-Hoard of Columbus.

Honor Graduates, who are elected by the faculty, must have distinguished themselves in academic achievement, Christian service and leadership potential, according to Kelly. "These graduates already are changing their world," said Dr. Mark Smith, OCU president. "I can't wait to see what they have accomplished 20 years from now. It is exciting to see that each graduate will help raise the baccalaureate rate of Pickaway County."

Last year, 184 students were graduated from OCU. Fifty-five of the 2011 graduates represented the traditional program. The average age of the students graduating from the traditional program was 24 years with a range of 20 to 48. AIM program graduates had an average age of 38 years with a range of 22 to 65. The AIM classes are taught one night each week or online, class syllabuses are compressed to five weeks and students usually take one class at a time. 

Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia, gave the commencement address Saturday. "His 20-minute speech was about integrity and authenticity of character," Kelly said. "He told the graduates that without either one of those qualities, no one will trust you." In recognition of his public-service career, Perdue was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from OCU.

Malon Mimms, a businessman who supports the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, City of Refuge, Anchor Center for Homeless Women, and EQUIP ministry, also was honored by OCU with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Pickaway County residents who are members of the 2011 OCU graduating class include Amanda Christine Patrick, Brigette Michelle Cook, Michael A. Baker, Lauren Elizabeth Bivens, Jared M. Black, Kenna Bolender, Bennett F. Bullock, Kellye Cross, Richard Kyle Dearing, Robert Scott Dolby, Chera Crane Duvall, Teresa Lynn Eanes, Jeffrey L. Harlan, Joanna Marie Haworth, Ragina K. Holland, Barbara Tonya Jackson, Megan Ann Jeffords, Stephanie Rochelle Lindeman, Donald A. Malone Jr., Tracie G. Massie, Jeffrey Melton, Stephen Palmer, Zachary T. Patrick, Donna Payne, Scott B. Perry and Christine Elizabeth Zimmerman.

original article by Nick Powell for the Circleville Herald