RIO GRANDE – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are preparing to host the schools’ 140th commencement ceremony May 7.
Each year, the university invites a commencement speaker to offer the graduating class words of wisdom as they begin their lives after higher education. The spring 2016 commencement speaker will be Rio’s own alumna, Megan Wise.
Wise, 26, is a native of Gallia County and the reigning Miss Ohio USA 2016. While still attending Gallia Academy High School, Wise took part in the Rio’s post-secondary option. She graduated from Rio Grande in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in early elementary education.
Wise currently teaches first grade at Meigs Primary School in Middleport and recently obtained her master’s degree in educational leadership. Wise was a top 50 finalist for America’s Next Top Model Season 13 and will represent Ohio at the internationally televised Miss USA pageant June 5.
Wise said she is passionate about advocating for children’s literacy and education, and is thankful for the invitation to speak to this spring’s Class of 2016.
“I’m thrilled to have been asked to be the commencement speaker this year,” she said. “My education and experiences at Rio have been so important to me, and I cannot wait to share my story as an alumna with this graduating class. They are preparing to take a big step into the working world, and I want to be an example of how Rio has prepared its graduates for their futures.”
Larry Kidd, chair of the Rio Grande Community College Board of Trustees, said he is eager to see what advice Wise has for the soon-to-be graduates based on her own experiences and life after her time at Rio.
“The Rio Grande family is excited to have Megan Wise as our commencement speaker at our graduation ceremonies. As a Rio Grande alumna and local educator, Megan will offer a unique perspective to our new graduates,” Kidd said. “With her national stage as Miss Ohio USA, Megan will have the opportunity to further advance her cause and passion for child literacy. We are all excited to welcome her back to campus.”
Alice Dachowski, chair of the University of Rio Grande Board of Trustees, said she is proud of Wise’s accomplishments and her ability to represent her alma mater to her community.
“I was very pleased when I learned Megan accepted President Johnston’s invitation to address our graduates at the upcoming 140th Commencement,” Dachowski said. “As a successful Rio alumna, Megan is a shining example of how a Rio Grande education instills self-confidence and motivation in our graduates, preparing them for the challenges of living a fulfilling life, reaching pre-professional and career goals, and being a responsible citizen in a culturally diverse, global community.”
The commencement ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. May 7 with more than 425 students graduating.
Jessica Patterson is a communication specialist for the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.