On Saturday, April 30, 2016, Ohio Christian University held its 66th Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. A record 810 associate, bachelor, and master level graduates participated a total of four ceremonies: three in Ohio and one in Georgia earlier this month.
Kelvin J. Cochran of Atlanta, Georgia, was the 2016 Commencement speaker. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Cochran followed his childhood dream and became a firefighter in 1981. Working his way through the ranks, he was appointed Fire Chief of the Shreveport Fire Department in 1999. In 2008 he was appointed Fire Chief for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department under Mayor Shirley Franklin. In August 2009 he was appointed by President Barack Obama to head the United States Fire Administration in the Department of Homeland Security. In June 2010 he was recruited back to serve as Fire Chief under Mayor Kasim Reed and served until January 2015.
Kelvin is a member of the Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia where he serves as a deacon and teacher/facilitator. He has been married to Carolyn Marshall for thirty-two years. They have three adult children and one granddaughter.
Mr. Cochran’s speech to the graduates addressed the importance of dreams in reaching one’s full potential, saying, “Dreams provide the schematic – the road map – for our future.” Cochran also emphasized that hard work and dedication are crucial components for achieving those dreams.
“Dream big dreams and rehearse those dreams throughout your life. God is not afraid of big dreams. After all, he’s the one who places them in our hearts,” he said.
The crowd came to its feet to honor the life and legacy of Josias Rodriguez, whose parents were awarded an honorary degree in his name. Josias was a ministry student at OCU in 2013, when he was tragically killed in a hiking accident. Each year the community comes together for a 5k run in his memory. All proceeds from the annual event towards the Josias Rodriguez scholarship fund.
Each year, OCU Honor Graduates are selected by the faculty. These graduates represent all the ideals of Ohio Christian University and must have distinguished themselves in academic achievement, Christian service, and leadership potential. Six 2016 Honor Graduates for the traditional program were selected, representing each academic discipline: Nancy Ann Wilcox, Religion; Whitney Condit, Psychology; Alyse Copeland, Music; Jacob Gideon, Business and Government; Joshua Harshbarger, General Studies; and Allyson Jones, Teacher Education. Kay Ringhiser was chosen as the Honor Graduated representing the AGS program.
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