Central Texas College graduate Michelle Cho Bochniak, right, shakes hands with Professor Richard Hindman, CTC president of the faculty Senate, during CTC’s commencement ceremony Friday at the Bell County Expo Center.

By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON — More than 240 Central Texas College students received their diplomas Friday morning at the Bell County Expo Center.

Afterward, the graduates embraced friends and family members on the floor of the center and posed for photos.

Dshaunn Dixon, 21, a culinary arts grad, said he found his way to Killeen after growing up in Boston and spending time in a number of foster homes.

When asked how he felt, a smiling Dixon, said he can now pursue his dream of opening a restaurant.

“Oh my goodness, it’s a wonderful feeling,” he said. “I have come a long way. Really a long way. There are no words.”

Friday’s graduation marked CTC’s 42nd commencement ceremony. The college’s chancellor, James Anderson, opened up the event, telling the audience that he has been proud to serve CTC and watch the school grow in size and in the number of programs offered.

In addition to the graduates at the Expo Center, hundreds more graduated from the central campus this spring. Worldwide, about 1,500 students received associate degrees or certificates of completion.

Anderson told the students they are a crucial part of the Central Texas community. He also acknowledged the changing leadership at CTC, as Deputy Chancellor Bill Alexander and Deputy Chancellor of Resource Management Robert Farrell prepare to retire in June. Anderson will retire in January.

Susan Kamas, the executive director of the Central Texas Workforce Board, told the graduates that she had one overriding piece of advice:

“Adults should never stop learning,” she said. “The world changes around us every day, and we need to make every effort to stay current.”

Kamas told the graduates to focus on being high-performing employees and find a field of work they are passionate about.

The average age of CTC graduates this year was 32, with the oldest being 58. Students from 13 states and six countries were represented.

One graduate, DeWaun Carmichael, was one of the first recipients of the Gordon Graves “Green Vest” Scholarship Program, which was developed in 2007 through Graves’ work with the Boys and Girls Club.

Also graduating with either associate degrees or certificates of completion were nearly 140 soldiers, two Marines, three members of the Air Force, four Navy personnel, two National Guardsmen and nearly 90 military family members, according to a CTC news release.