Owens graduates, photo montage

Past Commencement Speakers
December 2011

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Larry G. McDougle

Dr. Larry G. McDougle

Dr. Larry G. McDougle has amassed more than 40 years of experience as a faculty member and administrator in higher education, including serving as the fifth President in the 46-year history of Owens Community College.

During his tenure, Dr. McDougle worked tirelessly to reach out and engage faculty, staff members and students, as well as community and educational partners, with the purpose of advancing higher education for area residents throughout Northwest Ohio and beyond. Under his leadership, a scholarship program was designed for graduating high school students achieving academic excellence, and the College expanded educational opportunities with a Learning Center at Arrowhead Park in Maumee, as well as opened the doors to newly renovated Founders Hall and Heritage Hall buildings at the former Penta Career Center. Additionally, Owens opened a newly refurbished Welding Design Center, which features the latest in technological and academic resources specific to welding for several degree and certificate programs. On the Findlay Campus, a new wind turbine and solar array were unveiled as part of the College's energy strategic plan of reducing overall energy costs more than 20 percent.

Dr. McDougle's 40 years in higher education span four states, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and South Carolina. He was named the fourth President of Northwest State Community College in 1991 and retired as President Emeritus in 2003. Since his retirement, he had been a part-time faculty member in the University of Toledo Higher Education program, which is designed to prepare students for positions as college administrators. His professional background also includes serving as a tenured Professor at Indiana University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and the University of Toledo.

Dr. McDougle has received many honors including an Honorary Doctorate of Educational Leadership in 1998 and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009, both from the University of Findlay. In 1996, he received the Philip J. Rusche Distinguished Service Award from the University of Toledo College of Education and Allied Professions. Two years later, he was awarded the John C. Hoyt Outstanding Employment and Training Leadership Award from the Toledo Area Private Industry Council.

He earned a doctorate in higher education from the University of Toledo. The Napoleon resident holds a master's degree in physics from Kent State University and a bachelor's degree in math-physics from the University of Findlay.

Class Representative

Terri Leary

Terri Leary

Terri Leary, a Business Management student, has been selected as the Owens Community College class representative and will address the graduates during this evening's fall Commencement Ceremony.

Leary began her academic career at Owens with two online courses. While she was taking those courses, she lost her job helping seniors find affordable homes because she didn't have a degree.

Attending Owens became her job and she took it seriously. So seriously that she earned a 3.89 GPA, took 24 credit hours this last semester and will graduate as an Honors Scholar. She also received the first ever Owens Board of Trustees Certificate of Recognition for Exemplary Academic Achievement.

In addition, Leary was one of 12 national finalists in the National Economics Insider Symposium and only one of two students honored from community colleges. She had the opportunity to present her paper on improving the economy through providing prescriptions for senior citizens at the conference in Washington D.C. in front of a prestigious panel including an Economics Nobel Prize Winner. She is also one of the national Jack Kent Cook Scholarship finalists, an honor reserved for students who have a breadth of interests, work hard, and demonstrate a strong will to succeed.

"I was overwhelmed by the support I received at Owens from the faculty. When I was preparing for the Economics Symposium, I received help from faculty who had never even been my instructors," said Leary.

She credits her success to the support of the faculty and staff at Owens, including Jeremy Baker, Dr. Russ Bodi, Dr. Catherine Pratt, and Dr. Laurie Fathe. The support of her family was also a critical part of her success, including her husband, Ken and their children, Katie, Michael, Tiffany, Savannah and Matthew.

After graduation, she plans on transferring to a four-year institution to continue working toward her bachelor's degree and then her master's degree.