Butler celebrates 87th annual commencement ceremony

Butler Community College celebrated its 87th Commencement for the class of 2014 on Saturday.
Butler President Dr. Kim Krull opened the ceremony before introducing the first speaker.
“I hope you graduates realize you could not have achieved everything you have achieved today without lots of support from friends and family along the way,” began Krull. “There are even some key people who are here to celebrate with you today. They should be recognized for helping you along your journey.”
She then encouraged the graduates to look into the crowd, find their families and friends and give them a wave of recognition and thanks.
“It has been an honor having you as our students,” said Krull. “We want to thank those present here today for sharing your students with us. You’ve always been there to help them along the way. Each and every person here today has had a hand in getting you where you are. Sometimes they pushed you; sometimes they guided you, and other times they told you to get assignments done or even to show up to class. They’ve always been encouraging you.”
Krull then recognized various staff, community leaders and trustees before introducing the next speaker.
“We want you to know it has been an honor to have you as our students,” she said. “Collectively and individually you have created another chapter in Butler history. Clearly and certainly you’ve captured our hearts while you’ve been here. As you prepare to move on to new jobs, new education or whatever is in the next chapter in your lives, take a minute and reflect on your accomplishments that have gotten you here today. You’ve been blessed with the opportunity of a great education. I challenge you to go out from here and share your education. Continue to learn and grow and be a service to those around you. Also know that you will always have a home here. We’ll leave the lights on, we’ll leave the door open. We want you to come back and visit, share your successes with us and tell us what’s going on in your life. Best of luck to all of you. We hope you all go on to find great success.”
Krull then introduced Chair of the Board of Trustees Ron Engelbrecht.
“On behalf of Butler Community College board of trustees, we grant you our heartiest congratulations,” began Englebrecht. “Thank you for selecting Butler as your college of choice and best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors.”
Englebrecht was given the honor of introducing Speaker Tom McKibban, who is also a members of the board of trustees as well as a Butler alumni.
“More than 40 years ago, I sat right where all of you students are now,” began McKibban. “I was wondering what the future had in store for me. I would never think that in a few years – or decades later down the road – I would be involved in local politics or a father of five children and grandfather to two grandchildren. None of these accomplishments would be a reality if I had not realized the importance of taking and making my own opportunities.”
McKibban hoped to convey an important message to the graduates.
“I’m well aware that in 20 years, you may not remember the aging local guy who spoke at your graduation, but I hope I can make you realize the value of taking charge of your own opportunities,” he said. “First, find your own path. When I first began at Butler, I was hell-bent on teaching math to students in Australia, but one night while working in a local hospital, I overheard two nurses talking about how rewarding and well-paying  anestesia was. Sticking needles into people had never been a dream of mine, but after a lot of research and confirmation with the Butler’s nursing departments, I got to work and set out for my new dream. Now here I am today, continuing my passion and my career.”
McKibban went on to speak about the importance of getting involved.
“I’m certainly not insinuating that every one of you should go out and change your goals tomorrow,” he explained. “Your education at Butler has given you a firm foundation for any career you wish to pursue. Take any opportunity you can to get involved. In school, you might not get picked first for a game of basketball–I know I never was–but the real world is different. To be part of  team, you just have to throw yourself in.”
McKibban left the graduates with one last phrase of advice.
“Finally, I encourage everyone to take every chance to give back,” he said. “Don’t forget to say thank you and try to be the best person you can be.”
He closed his speech with a congratulations to the graduates.
“On behalf of the Butler College Trustee’s Board, congratulations class of 2014,” he said. “It is an honor to be here.”
Before the completion of the graduation, Butler also chose to recognize the 2014 Master Teacher, Professor of Business Systems Technology Karen Waddell and 2014 Hubbard Award of Excellence Scholar Susan Harris.

Kari Adams can be reached at kadams@butlercountytimesgazette.com.