CEHS graduates 445, alumna receives presidential honorary doctorate

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, 445 graduates received their degrees from the College of Education and Human Services. They traveled from near and far to participate in the ceremony, and one Regents Bachelor of Arts graduate, Matt Freed, came all the way from China.

Freed, who teaches English at a medical university in Jianzhou, endured well over 24 hours of travel to cross the stage for his degree, which he earned online. According to Freed, holding his RBA will provide him with a wealth of opportunity.

“The rest of the world is wide open now,” Freed said. “That’s what I’m really excited about.”

Kathryn Cotrill Vecellio, an alumna of the College of Education and Human Services, received the Presidential Honorary Doctorate in Counseling Psychology in recognition of her years of service to her community and West Virginia University.

“I’m especially grateful that my recognition is for service,” Vecellio said. “It’s not just something that I do. It has become who I am, and it’s something that I have always been passionate about. It most certainly makes me proud that our University has made service an integral part of its culture and mission.”

Vecellio received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and her master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the College of Human Resources and Education (now CEHS). She founded the Kathryn C. Vecellio Scholarship for CEHS students who demonstrate academic merit, financial need and involvement in service. Vecellio served on the College’s Visiting Committee for 20 years and is also a member of the CEHS Hall of Fame.

Dr. Frank Devono, superintendent of Monongalia County Schools and two-time CEHS graduate, served as the Commencement speaker. He advised the graduates that their character would direct their success and that a clearly defined moral compass would be essential for high achievement.

“As you move through this life, I want you to be aware that your character is always on display,” Devono said. “Who you are doesn’t stop on graduation day. Your character will speak to your work ethic, how you conduct yourself on the job and how well you can play with others. Your character is the force behind your achievement.”

Devono said that the graduates would often experience uncertainty in their professions, but he explained that those uncertain times would lead to greater discovery and personal growth.

President Gee issued a charge to the graduates, calling for them to use their knowledge and experience to serve others and sharing a few of his infamous ‘Gee-isms’ before conferring the degrees.

"Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God," Gee said.

To find out more about where CEHS’ 2017 graduates are headed, visit the College’s Facebook page.


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