Beckfield College celebrated first online graduate at Spring Commencement

May 8, 2014 (Florence, KY)   Beckfield College hosted its 2014 Spring Commencement on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.  More than 130 graduates ranging in age from 20 - 63 from Beckfield College’s campuses in Florence, Kentucky and Tri-County Cincinnati, Ohio and its first online student graduate participated in this traditional ceremony.  Emotions ran high for graduates and the 800 family members and friends in the audience celebrating the academic achievements.

First-time online graduate Bernadette Wagner was touched when she moved her tassel from right to left after being conferred with her online formatted Associate Degree in Health Information Technology. 

“Honestly, it really hasn’t hit me yet,” said Wagner as she stood out in the foyer in full cap and gown at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.  Wagner, who for the most part worked full-time while going to school at Beckfield College while also taking care of her son, Aiden with her family, admits that it was hard at times as she remembered back to when school was still in session for her.

“I remember having to be in front of the computer screen all night,” said Wagner, acknowledging while the online format was more convenient with her schedule over an on-campus class experience, the new format was just as challenging.  The full impact of being the very first student to graduate from the online program at Beckfield College is something that will grow as more students graduate through the program and Wagner confessed, “It’s a lot to take in.”

Wagner participated in the online delivery of academics due to her busy life schedule.  She was working 10 hours days and has a young son, so time needed to be flexible for college.   She had office experience and home health care experience prior to beginning her studies.  She chose Health Information Technology as her field of study because of the ability to combine her existing experience with an in-demand profession within the health care industry. 

“It was two long years, but I’m seeing the benefit already,” described Wagner.  She has had multiple job offers since completing course work just last month.  “What really sticks out to me is my advisor from Beckfield College.  She kept me motivated during the challenges!”               

Dustin DiChiara, owner of Chick-fil-A restaurant in Florence was the commencement speaker and talked in detail on his experience with college.

“To get where you all are today, sitting there with your cap and gowns, excited and joyful; it’s amazing!” said DiChiara.

“My family didn’t have a whole lot of money when I was going through college and so I held one, two, sometimes three jobs during college to help pay for that.  I fully understand how challenging that can be at times but also how rewarding it is.” 

DiChiara’s address was both inspirational and real, not sugar coating the need to continue to work hard, work smart, pay your dues, and continue learning.  Just like Beckfield College graduates, he knows what juggling a lot of schedules entails, as he is currently a graduate student studying Executive Leadership and Organizational Change at NKU, the father of four children, and owner/operator of a very successful Chick-fil-A restaurant known for double lines at peak hours, but with stellar service that continues to drive return visitors. 

“Our goal from the minute a student first walks through our doors is to help them identify their dreams and give them every possible tool to achieve program completion and move into their choice career,” described Diane Wolfer, president of Beckfield College.  “Commencement is the start of realizing hopes and dreams.  Students, staff and faculty are all partners in these dreams, so we’re all thrilled to see this day come to fruition for so many!”

About Beckfield College

Beckfield College is a degree granting institution of higher learning dedicated to preparing learners for relevant professional, technical and business careers in a diverse, ethical, student-centered environment.   Beckfield College celebrates 30 years of academic excellence in 2014.  Academics are offered at campuses in Florence, Kentucky and Tri-County Cincinnati, Ohio and online.   Programs vary by location. 

Beckfield College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The Florence, KY Campus is licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. The Tri-County Cincinnati, OH Campus is approved by the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools. (Reg # 08-05-1857T)  Beckfield College is authorized by The Indiana Board for Proprietary Education. 

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