Bell Addresses Wor-Wic Graduates
May 07, 2008
Dr. Spicer Bell, president of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, gave the 475 graduates from Wor-Wic Community College three keys to a powerful life during commencement ceremonies held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday.

Using quotes from Vince Lombardi, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Thoreau, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge and Dale Carnegie, Bell said his three keys are “three simple thoughts” that have come from his study of self-improvement that have made a significant difference in his life.

“Take time for love,” Bell began. “What I am speaking about is a more universal form of love… One of the most important expressions of love is gratitude. Gratitude unlocks the power of human relationships.”

Bell told the graduates they should be thankful for what they are and for the blessings they enjoy, and they should be willing to share that gratitude with others: “Expressing your love and gratitude can be as simple as a ‘thank you’ or a smile. Learn to express your gratitude freely and openly,” he said.

“Embrace silence” was Bell’s second key. “We live in a very noisy and cluttered world, constantly bombarded by music, noise, conversation, the media -- much of it self-inflicted…. To choose a powerful life, seek ways to bring silence into your life. Demand it. Set aside time each day for yourself and your thoughts.”

Bell’s third key was to “choose persistence.” “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all,” he explained.

Bell concluded his remarks by telling the graduates that they “will face many choices in life. Making three simple choices will help you lead a more powerful life.”

D. Gary Boggs, chairperson of Wor-Wic’s board of trustees, introduced the commencement speaker, members of the board of trustees and other guests on stage. After the commencement address by Bell, Dr. Ray Hoy, college president, presented him with a plaque on behalf of the 2008 graduating class.

Dr. Stephen L. Capelli, vice president for academic and student affairs at Wor-Wic, introduced the student speaker, Donald Whayland of Hebron, a chemical dependency counseling graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and a member of Wor-Wic’s Alpha Nu Omicron chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. At 61 years old, Whayland was one of the oldest members of the graduating class.

Addressing his fellow members of the Class of 2008, Whayland reflected on the challenges, opportunities and rewards he experienced as a student at Wor-Wic.

Challenges Whayland mentioned included difficult courses, working full-time jobs and parenting. With regard to opportunities, he said that “the faculty of Wor-Wic gave us the opportunity to learn and grow as students and human beings…. I had the opportunity to prove to myself that it’s never too late to gain an education.

As for the rewards, Whayland said “the obvious ones include the certificates and degrees we will soon receive and the places they will enable us to go.”

For 38 years, Don has been employed in the construction field, working his way up to his current position as senior project manager at Gillis Gilkerson in Salisbury. Don oversaw the construction of the Student Center and the Jordan Center at Wor-Wic’s campus. During that time, he felt a personal calling to become a chemical dependency counselor. After graduation, Don will continue to work full time at Gillis Gilkerson. In addition, he hopes to find a part-time evening or weekend position as a chemical dependency counselor to fulfill his calling and gradually transition into full-time counseling.

Wor-Wic's youngest graduate this year, Kathleen "Katy" Likovich, 17, is one of 117 general studies graduates – 110 received degrees and 7 received certificates. A former home-schooled student and the daughter of Matthew and Susan Likovich of Salisbury, Likovich started taking classes at Wor-Wic while completing the requirements for her high school diploma. Likovich said her education at Wor-Wic gave her increased self-confidence, a chance to prove herself and important lessons that will serve her well for a long time. While a student at Wor-Wic, Likovich was a member of the college's Alpha Nu Omicron chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and performed in five theater productions. She has earned her associate of arts degree in general studies with a 3.69 grade point average and plans to transfer to Salisbury University to major in theater this fall. Eventually, she hopes to be able to attend graduate school in Los Angeles, Calif., to further study acting and branch into film.

Also graduating with a general studies degree is Daniel Taylor of Ocean City, 39. After a 17-year career as a professional ski racer and instructor, Taylor felt that he needed a college degree to boost his resume. Taylor attended school in Australia as a child and later attended Melbourne University, but skiing interrupted his education. Taylor said he traveled the world and enjoyed the respect he received as an expert in skiing, but said it was “coming down from the mountain” into the real world that he realized that excelling in sports did not open up doors in the business world. He said employers were not interested in him without a degree and real work experience. Although Taylor was a bit intimidated to come back to college as an older student, he said he found that the mix of older and younger students with different life experiences made it more rewarding and enriching. Taylor will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average. He is also a part-time martial arts instructor and freelance graphic designer. He plans to attend Salisbury University in the fall to major in history and philosophy, and would eventually like to earn a master’s degree in history and teach adults.

Right after general studies, nursing is the second most popular major among members of the graduating class, with 115 graduates -- 55 receiving associate degrees and 60 receiving certificates of proficiency. The number of nursing graduates is expected to continue to increase as the second phase of the college’s latest nursing expansion are realized. The first-time licensure examination pass rate of Wor-Wic’s graduates in these programs annually surpasses both state and national averages. Last year, at 97 percent, Wor-Wic graduates surpassed the first-time pass rate of every Maryland four- and two-year school on the same registered nurse licensure exam.

Business is the next largest group of graduates, with 45 degrees and one certificate. Chemical dependency counseling majors follow, with 42 degrees and one certificate.

Criminal justice is another popular program at Wor-Wic, with 17 degrees and 17 certificates. Following closely with 32 degree graduates was the education program.

Two years ago, Wor-Wic introduced a science transfer program for students who want to attend a community college before transferring to a four-year degree program in science or a pre-professional program such as pre-medicine or pre-dentistry. Starr Matsatos, 21, of Salisbury, is one of the first graduates of this program. She said she is interested in the medical field because she finds it rewarding to help other people. Starr is looking into four-year colleges that offer dental hygiene programs, but is waiting to decide on a college until she and her fiancé, who recently enlisted in the Army, learn where they will be relocating in a few months. Starr plans to complete a dental assisting program and begin working in the field to obtain hands-on experience while she works toward a degree in dental hygiene.

Other graduates received degrees or certificates in accounting, computer studies, construction engineering technology, electronics, emergency medical services, hotel-motel-restaurant management, manufacturing, office technology and radiologic technology.

The majority of the graduates are from Salisbury or other parts of Wicomico County, followed by Worcester and Somerset counties. Graduates are also from Dorchester, Caroline, Talbot and other counties in Maryland, as well as from nearby states.

In addition to the speakers, dignitaries seated on stage included members of the college's board of trustees, Robert M. Lawrence, vice chairperson, and Andrew W. Booth and Morgan Hazel, all of Salisbury, Russell W. Blake of Pocomoke City and Velda E. Henry of Berlin; and members of the Wicomico County Council, John T. Cannon, president, Stevie Prettyman, vice president, Gail M. Bartkovich, David MacLeod, William R. McCain and Sheree Sample-Hughes, all of Salisbury, and Joe Holloway of Parsonsburg. Other special guests on stage were Del. Norman H. Conway, D-38B, of Salisbury; Del. Adelaide C. Eckardt, R-37B, of Cambridge; Del. D. Page Elmore, R-38A, of Salisbury; and Del. Jim Mathias, D-38B, of Ocean City. Minister Mark Thompson, director of the Salvation Army in Salisbury, gave the invocation and benediction.

ON STAGE. Some of the officials seated on stage for Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday evening are shown, from left, D. Gary Boggs, chairperson of the board of trustees at Wor-Wic; Dr. Ray Hoy, president of the college; and Dr. Spicer Bell, president of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, who was the commencement speaker.

FROM SOUTHERN WORCESTER. Russell W. Blake, a member of the board of trustees at Wor-Wic Community College, congratulates some of the graduates from southern Worcester County at commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday evening. From left, next to Blake, are Colleen Brewington of Snow Hill, a criminal justice graduate, and Lauren Lubben of Pocomoke City, a nursing graduate.

FROM NORTHERN WORCESTER. From left, Del. Jim Mathias, D-38B, of Ocean City, Del. Adelaide C. Eckardt, R-37B, of Cambridge, and Velda E. Henry of Berlin, a member of the board of trustees at Wor-Wic Community College, congratulate some of the graduates from northern Worcester County who received their associate degrees at commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday evening. From left next to Henry are Daniel Taylor and Shannon Smith of Ocean City and Michael Higgins of Berlin, all general studies graduates.

SOMERSET GRADUATES. Del. D. Page Elmore, R-38A, of Salisbury, congratulates some of the graduates from Somerset County at Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday evening. From left next to Elmore are Jennifer Malone of Deal Island, a nursing graduate, Megan Morgan of Crisfield, a radiologic technology graduate, and Mark Corbin of Princess Anne, a criminal justice graduate.

WICOMICO GRADUATES. Del. Norman H. Conway, D-38B, of Salisbury, congratulates some of the graduates from Wicomico County who received their associate degrees at Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday evening. From left next to Conway are Kathleen Likovich of Salisbury, a general studies graduate, Tameka Brown of Mardela Springs, a nursing graduate, and Brandon Tomlinson of Pittsville, a radiologic technology graduate.

WICOMICO COUNCIL. Members of the Wicomico County Council attending Wor-Wic Community College commencement exercises at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center Tuesday evening are shown with Donald Whayland of Hebron, a chemical dependency counseling graduate and student speaker. In the front row from left, are John T. Cannon, president of the council, Whayland, and Stevie Prettyman, vice president of the council. Shown in the back row, from left, are council members William R. McCain, Gail M. Bartkovich, Joe Holloway, David MacLeod and Sheree Sample-Hughes.