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PJC Commencement fills Noyes Stadium

Published or Revised May 14, 2014

2014 PJC commencement photo

Top: PJC sophomore Diana Ramirez of Pickton won the 2014 Distinguished Service Award during PJC’s graduation ceremony at Noyes Stadium on Friday and (bottom) PJC sociology instructor Jon Rutherford received the 2014 Master Teacher award.

Paris Junior College’s Noyes Stadium was filled to capacity Friday evening as proud students were awarded diplomas and certificates during commencement ceremonies. As of Friday morning, 272 students had let the college know they planned to participate in the ceremony, and 374 had applied to graduate for the spring semester.

Counting the fall semester that means 739 individuals will have graduated from PJC with certificates and associate degrees. Of those, 44 percent are male and 56 percent female.

Dr. Pamela Anglin, Paris Junior College President, led the Board of Regents, faculty and graduates in procession from the Rheudasil Learning Center. Sophomore Derick Waugh of Paris gave the invocation, and Paris sophomore Austen Naron performed “In My Life.”

“Tonight we have graduates who have received state and national honors in their degree field,” said Dr. Anglin. “Our graduates range in age from 17 to 69 years young. “These graduates come from all over the State of Texas, across the United States and the globe representing 40 different Texas counties, 21 different states, and four countries, Mexico, the Netherlands, India and Ukraine.”

Next the 2014 Master Teacher was announced. Sociology instructor Jon Rutherford was presented with a medallion, plaque and $1,000 honorarium. Rutherford started with PJC as an adjunct instructor in 2000 and became a full-time faculty member in 2007. He relates sociology to real life experiences and hard work through his up bringing as the child of a farmer in Roxton, Texas.

According to faculty nominations, Rutherford creates a respected relationship with students. He relates their teaching to a student’s immediate life and relationships in a constantly changing world, and he translates what is taught to today’s workforce from the perspective of being a hard and tireless worker. He is also a person students can connect with because of his warm smile and magnetic personality. He opens new doors through insight and challenges engagement in the classroom.

Diana Ramirez of Pickton received the Distinguished Service Award. Presented annually since 1935, the award recognizes academic achievement and service to PJC and the community by an outstanding graduating student. PJC’s faculty and professional staff select the recipient of this award. The first recipient of the award was Louis B. Williams, who later served as president of PJC.

Ramirez was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges and has been very active in community work including food drives, toy drives, and cultural awareness events, PJC’s Day of Service, and participated in a medical mission trip to Nicaragua. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Student Government, and the Blend Club. She was a candidate for Homecoming Queen and Miss PJC.

She is a first generation college student planning to attend Stephen F. Austin State University as a biology/pre-med student to pursue a medical degree.

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