Lorain County Community College Graduates Honor Legacy and Celebrate Future at 60th Commencement Ceremony

Lorain County Community College honored the class of 2024 on Saturday, May 11, during its 60th annual Commencement Ceremony. The milestone ceremony’s theme, “Our Legacy, Our Future,” celebrated this year’s graduates, recognized the generations of LCCC alumni who came before them, and encouraged all to strive toward a future legacy they are proud of.

“As you graduate today and move on to the next chapter of your life, I encourage you to think about your own legacy,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “By earning your degree, you’ve established your commitment to higher education and expanding your career options and earning potential. I hope you continue to build upon these achievements as lifelong learners, in the classroom and also in your daily lives. And most of all, I hope you continue become active members of your community – using your knowledge and skills to lift those around you and creating a legacy of excellence.”

This year, 2,040 graduates earned 2,364 degrees and credentials from LCCC. This includes 1,790 students who earned 2,108 LCCC degrees and certificates – nine of which are a Bachelor of Applied Science degree – and another 263 graduates who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the LCCC University Partnership.

LCCC graduate Myles Riggins

With the 2024 graduating class, LCCC surpassed the goal embedded in its recent strategic plan to help 10,000 individuals earn an LCCC degree or credential by 2025. Exceeded one full year early, the goal intended to help individuals reach academic milestones that will impact themselves, their families, and the community, growing the college’s legacy of providing high-quality and affordable education and training.

To make education and training even more accessible and affordable, LCCC has bolstered its dual enrollment offerings in partnership with local K-12 institutions. Crossing the stage this year were 148 graduates who leveraged this offering, earning an associate degree or certificate at the same time or even before they complete high school. These students participated in one of many dual enrollment programs, including Lorain County Early College High School, Lorain High School Early College, College Credit Plus and Career Technical Education, all of which are delivered at no cost to students. This year’s dual enrollment graduates saved their families more than $1.7 million in tuition.

Myles Riggins, 18, is among the graduates who used dual enrollment to not only save money, but to begin building their legacy at a young age. Riggins, who began taking LCCC courses in eighth grade, earned his associate of arts at the time he graduated from Oberlin High School. Now Riggins is transferring to The Ohio State University where he plans to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Public Management, Leadership and Policy, and then his Master of Public Administration. He hopes to positively impact Lorain County through public policy.

“I have a real attachment to Lorain County,” he said. “I grew up here. I care about social issues, and I care about people. That’s my thing.”

Through his public administration studies, Riggins learned that educational attainment is directly tied to economic mobility. Today, nearly 44% graduates are paving the way for future generations as the first in their families to graduate with a college degree or credential. Among them is Ohio Air National Guard Technical Sergeant, and 2024 associate degree in nursing graduate, China Taylor. Taylor, 25, chose LCCC’s nursing program because of its high National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates among its students. Most recently, 93% of LCCC 2023 nursing graduates passed the NCLEX-RN, well surpassing the national and state averages.

“LCCC has very high NCLEX pass rates and I think that’s because of the college’s focused classes and devoted staff and professors,” said Taylor.

Taylor now works as a nurse at Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital where she draws from the education and training she received at LCCC during every shift. And when she considers the legacy she’d like to leave through her patient care, it’s been heavily influenced by her LCCC instructors.

“All of the staff here are so compassionate, and they made sure to put that into our training. Patients aren’t just patients; they’re someone’s family.”

Like Taylor, many LCCC 2024 graduates are already impacting others as they build their chosen legacies and strive forward in their education and careers. John Martin, earning an associate of science in universal science, is an award-winning biomedical engineering researcher. The Oberlin resident was one of four students selected to work on a National Science Foundation-backed project leveraging computer modeling to evaluate proposed design modifications to surgical implant devices used in the treatment of pediatric scoliosis.

Martin, 20, was recognized with the 2023 Ohio Academy of Science Undergraduate Research Award for his contributions and in fall 2024, he received a NASA/Ohio Space Grant Consortium Community College to continue his research. He presented his work at the NASA/Ohio Space Grant Consortium Student Research Symposium at the NASA Glenn Research Center in March 2024, and it’s being published in the Ohio Space Grant Consortium Student Research Symposium Proceedings.

“John’s not only an amazing student, he’s also an amazing person,” said Regan Silvestri, Ph.D., the LCCC professor who led the project. “As we worked through our research project, John seemed to have a natural gut instinct as to what was the right thing to do as we solved this curious engineering puzzle of a project.”

Martin is now enrolled in LCCC’s University Partnership program with The University of Toledo, working toward his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering.

For graduate Emily Williams, 23, her path to a bachelor’s degree was provided by LCCC alone. She is one of nine graduates earning a Bachelor of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing. In keeping with the program’s high job placement rates, Williams, from Grafton, has accepted a position as Facilities Engineer with Intel.

“Intel provides a lot of opportunities for you to explore various gigs and roles within the company, which will help me discover within my own career the different paths I might want to take,” Williams said.

As LCCC graduates plan their pathway forward, Ballinger closed out the day’s ceremony by reminding them that their achievement today sets the foundation for tomorrow.

“You have reached this moment through grit and determination, and I am so inspired by each of you,” Ballinger said. “You are striving toward your dreams and building your legacy. A legacy that will carry you proudly into the future.”

To read more 2024 graduate stories, visit commencement.lorainccc.edu/stories.

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