Retiring Northern Oklahoma College President Dr. Cheryl Evans addressed graduates at both Tonkawa and Enid campuses last Saturday in commencement exercises.
In speaking to students, Evans told students that, “This is the best day of the entire school year, you reached your education goal during one of the most challenging times in modern history during a pandemic, but you persevered, you showed grit, and you did it.”
“Northern Oklahoma College is proud to have been a part of your academic experience and we celebrate with you on this important day in your life,” she said. “We all know that education changes lives. The most incredible thing about learning and completing your degree is that nobody can ever take this degree away from you. You will have this credential with you the rest of your life and it will help you from here on out.”
“All of you in this graduating class have changed your lives and the trajectory of your future by earning this degree,” she added. “You are part of NOC’s legacy.”
“If we learned anything this last year during a pandemic, it is that life’s not easy and it is uncertain. Life is not always fair, but you can still get where you need to go. Look at all of you here in your caps and gowns. You did what it takes and finished your degrees despite all the obstacles you encountered in 2020 and 2021. You are resilient!”
She encouraged students to keep trying and keep persevering.
“I believe that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to do and you should go wherever you think you can make a difference.,” she said. “Surround yourself with people who see your value and remind you of it, but especially you must believe in yourself and then you will be unstoppable. After final exams and degrees are posted, there will be a new chapter in your life and your book will get even more interesting from here.”
“You are on a journey so take time to savor each step of the way,” she said
“Today we celebrate the great start you’ve made at Northern Oklahoma College. I encourage you to remember this institution long after you leave here. This is where you “commenced” on your path to a successful and fulfilling life.”
“When you achieve a measure of success, please remember your roots and where you were set on a firm foundation for all the other incredible experiences to come. Please give back with your time, talent, and resources to Northern Oklahoma College, just as many before you have done to make your experience here affordable and memorable.”
NOC held two in-person ceremonies on Saturday in Tonkawa and in Enid for Enid/Stillwater students in a modified event where students were allowed two guests.
Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first public community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services which create life-changing experiences and develop students as effective learners and leaders within their communities in a connected, ever changing world.
NOC, a public two-year community college, serves nearly 5,000 students on the home campus in Tonkawa, branch in Enid, NOC/OSU Gateway Program in Stillwater, online, and the University Center in Ponca City. Of these students about 60% receive financial aid and/or scholarships. Over 80% of NOC students complete their degree with zero debt.
NOC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers associate degrees in three general areas: Arts, Science and Applied Science. The associate degree fulfills lower-division course work which is applicable towards a bachelor’s degree.
Call (580) 628-6200 for more information about Northern Oklahoma College or visit www.noc.edu .