24May Marion Technical College Awards Degrees to 334 Graduates by Wendy Weichenthal (Marion) In a sunlit drive through ceremony, Marion Tech honored 334 graduates at its 49th annual commencement. The graduates receiving 286 associate degrees and 128 certificates came from 23 Ohio counties and two states. They range in age from 17 to 60. They include seven veterans and 33 high school students who received college degrees at no cost to them through the College Credit Plus program. “I believe that this is one of the most important steps of your lives. You have achieved your associate’s degrees. This degree communicates to others that you are prepared and willing to accept greater responsibilities in order to make meaningful contributions to society, but don’t let this be the end of your learning. Strive every day to be a learner and continue building on the foundations you have received here,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of Marion Tech. “Graduating college is not done alone; much is sacrificed by so many of you in order for these graduates to achieve their degree – a sacrifice that the recipients greatly appreciate,” said Dr. Ryan McCall. Many of the families came to celebrate with their graduates in cars, trucks, limos and even a party bus filled with children, spouses, parents and grandparents. Randy Gardner, Chancellor of the Ohio Higher Education Department, and State Rep. Tracy Richardson also came to present diplomas to these graduates. Ritch Ramey, an alumnus and instructor at Marion Tech, was the keynote speaker. He also taught at Tri-Rivers Career Center and was a leader in the first RAMTEC center and then expanding it statewide. From left to right: Dr. Ryan McCall, Rep. Tracy Richardson, Dr. Amy Adams and Paul James. “America, as it comes out of COVID, will have more demand than supply for skilled workers and technicians. It truly is a seller’s market and you should benefit financially from this market,” said Ramey. “Many of you already doing many essential jobs that have helped us stay healthy, fed, housed, clothed, and able to make it through this terrible pandemic. Many of you will become essential workers and help our nation heal from the last 13 months.” Graduate and student speaker Jamie Pineda drives up to receive his diploma. Student speaker Jamie Pineda is graduating from both Harding High School and Marion Technical College with an associate degree in Cyber Security. “Most of us fear failure, but we should rather fear not trying,” said Pineda. He challenged the graduating class to keep moving forward with perseverance and persistence despite the pandemic and the financial, emotional and mental health challenges it brought. Find the full list of graduates and a video including highlights of graduation here. The graduation was covered live by WMRN 1490-AM as well as live streamed by WMFD in Mansfield.