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WNC graduation largest in history

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com
Steve Ranson / LVN photo

Western Nevada College’s number of graduates from both the Carson City and Fallon campuses keeps breaking records every year.

According to Dr. Carol Lucey, WNC president, she told graduates, their families and friends at the Barkley Theatre on Tuesday that 505 students received diplomas and certificates during this week’s commencement exercises at the two locations.

This look to the future also became a theme in Gil Martin’s commencement address. A WNC art professor for nine years, Martin told the small gathering of graduates to look ahead and find something in life they would enjoy

“Commencement is also a beginning,” Martin said, adding the world awaits the graduates with additional learning and teaching.

Martin told a story of following his dreams. When he had a quarter remaining before receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics, Martin quit school because he felt he was on the wrong track. Consequently, Martin said after doing some odd jobs, he discovered his interest for art.

“I took a community college class in Seattle and met an instructor who had a passion for art,” Martin revealed.

Because of his new-found love, Martin said he enjoys teaching art at the community college level.

“Does it matter that you love what you do?” he rhetorically asked. “Finding your passion can take care of a lot of things. If you find what you’re meant to be driven to succeed, tap into enormous energy and sheer joy.”

Referring to Confucius, he said, “Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”

Martin commended the graduates for their hard work and for the community to recognize them on this special night. He also acknowledged the parents who earned a degree so that their children would have an example to follow.

Martin said the world changes when we change our attitudes about it.

“We literally construct the world in which we live,” he said. “We see the potential or hopelessness of any given situation.”

Martin elaborated on the joys of teaching.

“Sharing knowledge is one of the joys of learning, and that’s why I was drawn to teaching — passing on what one has learned, connecting us between the past and present,” he said.

Martin said people learn from each other and face what life continues to present, both bad and good, when they least expect it. He said the trick is for people to remain calm, composed and centered.

“Learn from those challenges,” he said.

Regent Jason Geddes, chairman of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, said WNC was meeting the needs of the community, and he saluted the graduates for their accomplishments.

“This signifies the end of one phase of life but the beginning of another,” he said.

Geddes added that the accomplishments of this year’s graduates is proof that they can complete any endeavor they choose.

Curtis Blackwell, outgoing president of the Associated Students of WNC, also commended the graduates and thanked them and their families for their dedication and desire to succeed.