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WVU Tech Commencement Honors Nearly 200 Graduates

WVU Tech’s 116th Commencement Ceremony honored nearly 200 graduates on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at the Baisi Athletic Center in Montgomery.

Local media covered the event, including the following from WSAZ:

MONTGOMERY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Nearly 200 students at WVU Tech turned their tassels Saturday during the school’s 116th commencement ceremony.

One of the speakers at the graduation was U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

“To anyone who says that America in a nation in decline and our young people are soft and uncompetitive, I would say this – come to WVU Tech and I’ll introduce you to a 190-plus graduates who I guarantee will change your mind,” said Goodwin in his address.

Campus President Carolyn Long also spoke, advising students to take what they’ve learned during their years at WVU Tech, and use it to make positive changes.

“Some of you may wander the planet in search of your passion while others will find it right here at home,” Long said. “Wherever you land and wherever you go in the months and years ahead, know that you have everything you need to make a better life for you and the ones you love.”

“WVU Tech has prepared us with the knowledge to go out and face the world – to not just challenge it, but to improve it,” said Amy Haddix, graduate and President of the WVU Tech Student Government Association.

Read more coverage of the ceremony from WOAY and WCHS.

During the weekend, local media outlets also covered the story of WVU Tech graduate Jermaine Gadson, who overcame a devastating coma in 1998 and completed his degree after 16 years.

From The Charleston Gazette:

On Dec. 14, 1998, doctors told Johnnie Gadson to come to Cabell Huntington Hospital, and to come quickly. Gadson’s son, Jermaine, a freshman at Marshall University, was in a coma and was not expected to wake up.

On Saturday, Jermaine Gadson graduated from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology, in Montgomery.

“I don’t think I’m the oldest graduate in this walking class, but I’m up there,” Jermaine, now 35, said.
He can’t remember how he ended up in the hospital. He had been at a party drinking when something happened.

Johnnie said campus police never did determine exactly what happened to his son. About all he knows is that Jermaine ended up in the hospital, where his condition kept getting worse.

Doctors said Jermaine was brain-dead, and would probably never recover.

“They wanted to know if I’d donate his organs,” Johnnie recalled.

About all family members could do was pray. Johnnie prayed a lot. Then, 28 days later, Jermaine Gadson came out of his coma.

Within a week, he drove himself to a basketball game.

“His short-term memory wasn’t that good, but everything else was fine,” Johnnie said. “Even the doctor admitted they had no medical reason for his recovery.

“I believe God can reverse any situation.”

Jermaine tried to go back to college in 1999, but the effort proved too much for him. He just couldn’t remember things.

But he stuck to it. He worked for a while, tried school again, then went to work again.

He had to relearn how to learn. But he refused to give up.

“I knew I’d be able to graduate,” he said. “It wasn’t something I was going to be denied.”

Jermaine Gadson now has a degree in sports management.

“Never give up hope,” he said. “Never give up faith. That’s what got me through it.”

Read more about Jermaine at The Herald-DispatchThe Exponent Telegram and Daily Journal.

To see photos from WVU Tech’s commencement weekend, visit the WVU Teck Flickr page.

Graduates who want to order portraits taken during the commencement ceremony can do so at Grad Images.