FREMONT - Don't choose to just get by, choose to be productive, was the message Friday night at the 44th annual Terra State Community College commencement.
Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer of ProMedica Health System, told graduates the story of George Dantzig, a mathematical scientist who made contributions to operations research, computer science, economics and statistics.
Oostra said Dantzig was not the best student and struggled with mathematics. On one occasion, Oostra said Dantzig overslept an important class and had to turn in homework late. The math problems on the board contained two unsolvable problems, which Dantzig, being late and not knowing the directions, solved and became a pioneer.
"This story is about having positive thinking in life and being able to move forward," Oostra said.
More than 200 graduates received associate degrees in applied business, applied science, arts, science and technical study; and 60 graduates received certificates.
"Tonight is all about choices," Oostra said. "Choices to either go forward or just get by. Choose to not just get by but to move forward. Commit to your goals and you all will go do great things."
Bethany Aldrich of Clyde was student speaker. Aldrich is an Academic All-Ohio recipient, a member of the Terra Association of Future Teachers and Phi Theta Kappa, and has volunteered at KidsCollege and past commencements.
"I have known Terra to be a second home to me," Aldrich said. "The three years I have been here, I have learned more about myself, about life, confidence and paying it forward."
Aldrich spoke about how her mother was in and out of the hospital and the Terra faculty and staff, along with classmates, helped her get through.
"I don't know where I'd be without you," Aldrich said. "A simple act of kindness can change someone's life."
Aldrich challenged the rest of the graduating class to reflect on the time "that others have taken to help you."
Chelsea Wellman of Fremont received two associates degrees - one in music technology/recording arts and music performance and another in music business management.
"It's crazy that this is finally happening," Wellman said. Over the summer she will be working full-time at Hoover Auditorium in Lakeside as a member of the stage crew. She will continue on to Columbia College in Chicago to major in arts management.
"I am sad to leave Terra," Wellman said. "But I am so excited to start the next chapter of my life."