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Published 5/13/2005

Record 740 Owens Community College Students Graduate During Spring Commencement

The Honorable Justice for the Supreme Court of Ohio, Judith Ann Lanzinger served as the Spring Commencement keynote speaker. Challenging graduates to set personal goals, The Honorable Justice for the Supreme Court of Ohio, Judith Ann Lanzinger addressed the Owens Community College graduating class as the College held its 39th annual Spring Commencement on Thursday, May 12.

Serving as the keynote speaker, Justice Lanzinger shared with the record 740 graduates - including 108 from the Findlay-area Campus - and the more than 6,000 family, friends and relatives in attendance about the importance of making a commitment to achieving a goal. Then, successfully turning those aspirations into reality.

"Owens Community College is extremely honored to have Justice Lanzinger take time to celebrate the academic achievements of our graduates," said Gary Dettling, Owens Vice President of College Advancement. "Justice Lanzinger is an accomplished leader, both within the community and the field of law. Her insightful message served as an inspiration to the College's graduating class as they become tomorrow's educators, scientists, health care professionals, technologists, musicians, skilled laborers and business leaders."

Justice Lanzinger has a legal career that spans nearly 26 years, including 19 as a State Court Judge. She began her legal career with Toledo Edison Company, specializing in environmental law. In 1981, she joined Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick as an Associate in the fields of employment law and litigation. In 1985, she was elected to the Toledo Municipal Court. She has been elected seven times to judicial positions. From 1989 to 2003, she served on the Lucas County Common Pleas Court, where she heard civil and felony cases, including 12 death penalty cases.

In 2002, Justice Lanzinger was elected to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which serves eight counties in Northwest Ohio.

Along with fulfilling judicial duties, Justice Lanzinger has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law for 16 years. In 1992, she was the second woman in the country to earn a Master's of Judicial Studies from the National Judicial College and University of Nevada, Reno. Since 1990, she has served on the NJC faculty and has taught courses in seven states as well as in the former Soviet Union.

Justice Lanzinger is the former Chair of the Ohio Judicial College and Past President of the Morrison R. Waite American Inn of Court. She is a member of the Ohio Bar Foundation's Class of 2000 and has served as Co-Chair of the Public Education and Awareness Task Force on the Ohio Courts Futures Commission, and on the Supreme Court of Ohio's Board of Grievances and Discipline. Justice Lanzinger also served on the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, which recommended a comprehensive re- writing of Ohio sentencing law that was enacted in 1996.

She was the first in her family to attend college, working part time to pay tuition. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Toledo in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in education, and starting a family, she began teaching. Five years later, Justice Lanzinger entered law school. In 1977, she graduated as valedictorian from the University of Toledo College of Law. She and her husband, Bob, reside in Toledo and have two children.

Brian Anderson addresses the College's graduates as class representative. Brian Anderson, a fire science major, was selected as the Owens Community College class representative and addressed the graduates during the Spring Commencement ceremony.

An honors student at Owens and a Fostoria Firefighter/Paramedic since 1994, Anderson describes himself as an easy-going, innovative and hard-working individual. His favorite hobbies include golfing, fishing and bowling.

Anderson, a 1982 Summerville Union High (California) graduate, served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years before enrolling at Owens. Active within the community, he volunteers much of his free time assisting in the development and maintenance of an Automated External Defibrillator Task Force for the city of Fostoria. He also teaches fire and EMS training through the Vanguard Career Center in Fremont.

Anderson credits the educational success he has achieved to his superior, Fostoria Fire Chief Russell Rife, who continuously gave him inspiration and encouragement.

"Chief Rife is actually a graduate of this program here at Owens," Anderson said. "In 1997, he saw the way our profession was headed and that additional education was needed for career advancement. He recommended the program to me and kept pushing me to enroll. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't be where I'm at today."

The focus of his commencement speech addressed his personal success story, as well as highlighted the importance of community to Owens Community College and Northwest Ohio.

"Owens Community College does so much for the community, and the community does so much for Owens," Anderson stated. "For example, without community support in Findlay, Owens probably wouldn't have been able to build the new campus. As a student, you notice that there is so much support between community members and the faculty and staff."

A father of two children, Anderson's career aspirations include one-day holding the title of Chief at a fire department. In the meantime, he plans on continuing his education at Owens to obtain a second degree in business administration before transferring and earning a four-year business administration degree from Bowling Green State University. He resides in Fostoria.

Of the record 740 graduates, 213 graduated with honors and 22 of those earned perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

Future First Energy electrical line workers and Owens graduates take time to pose for a photo following Spring Commencement. (L to R) Matt Wynn of Dundee, Mich., Rob Berger of Toledo, Mike Albright of Curtice and Rob May of Holgate all earned associate of technical studies degrees.       An Owens graduate shows her joy through a decorative cap.

Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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