WHO: International College.
WHAT: 15th Annual Commencement Ceremony. A total of 467 students graduating.
WHERE: Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples.
WHEN: 4 p.m., June 13.
COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER: Fort Myers Mayor Jim Humphrey. He earned a B.A. from Mercer University and a law degree from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. A U.S. Army veteran, Humphrey served as captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG). He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Lee County Bar Association, a director of Fifth Third Bank Florida, and a Board of Trustee for International College. His long career includes service as the first full-time Lee County Attorney and as a city judge of Fort Myers. Humphrey is currently active on the Arts and Culture Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He recently received the 2004 Angels of the Arts Award for the Arts Public Official of the Year.
GRADUATION STUDENT SPEAKER: Barrie Joy Conley, 43, of Naples, has a 3.9 GPA and will graduate summa cum laude. She will be receiving a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology. She has been on the Dean’s List every year since enrolling in winter 2000.
GRAD STORY 1: Will Bowden, of Naples, who turned 31 the day before graduation, had been activated for duty four times since enrolling with International College in 2002. He took 20 credit hours online while serving our country in Iraq. Bowden performed his missions by day and studied/worked on course assignments at night in order to graduate in June. He has successfully earned a bachelor’s degree in Management. Bowden’s wife of seven years, Jill, will accept the degree on his behalf at the ceremony. Bowden, meanwhile, plans to watch the ceremony in Iraq via a live web camera.
GRAD STORY 2: Sarasota resident Robert Zielinski had only one more class to take in order to earn his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. Then, he was activated for Army Reserve duty in January 2003. Shortly thereafter, he was deployed to Iraq. In September 2003, Zielinski became the first soldier to take a distance learning course with
International College while activated and overseas. Zielinski, a Military Police officer, conducted missions on the road and was sent to various locations throughout Iraq. Class assignments and papers were sent to his professor via email as well as regular post mail.
Zielinski has since returned to the area and will participate in the commencement ceremony.
GRAD STORY NO. 3: In Fall 2002, Anke Stimpson was one semester away from graduating from International College with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and an MBA. Then, in October of that year, she was involved in a twin-engine Cessna Citation accident in central Maine. Her legs were broken. Her left ankle was dislocated. Her face sustained multiple fractures. Somehow, Stimpson survived the accident. Doctors put a screw and plate in her left ankle, which put her in a wheelchair for six weeks. She underwent three surgeries on her face. Her jaw was wired shut. She still faces more facial surgeries. Stimpson endured months of rehab in order to relearn how to walk. Through it all, only two things remained on her mind: finishing school and being able to run again. Stimpson, 55, of Naples, has successfully earned an MBA and maintained her perfect 4.0 GPA.
GRAD STORY NO. 4: There are five married couples graduating this year - a first in Collier County. This is also the first occurrence in the College’s history. Additionally, four of the five couples will receive the same degrees.
GRAD STORY No. 5: Kenneth and Adam Ginsberg will be the first father and son to both earn master’s degrees at International College. Adam, 28, specifically wanted to enroll in a private college. He wanted a small teacher/class ratio and professors with real-world professional experience. Kenneth, 57, enrolled for intellectual challenge purposes and to do something in conjunction with his son. Kenneth has earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice; Adam, an MBA.
- Couple No. 1 is Louisa and Dale Waller. They found knowledge and true love at International College. The couple first met in Professor Gene Landrum’s class in May 2002. They went out on their first date in November and married in March 2003. Louisa, 49, will receive a bachelor’s degree in Management. Dale, 43, also will receive a bachelor’s degree in Management.
- Couple No. 2 is Sue and Rhett Goby. Initially, the couple made plans to travel to Italy. Instead, they decided to apply the money toward earning their master’s degrees. They have both earned MBAs. The couple, who has been married 16 years, took online courses and night courses on alternating days, while working full time, so there would always be someone at home with 13-year-old daughter, Laura. Sunday was the day the couple carved out as family day. Additionally, both couples also received their bachelor’s degrees in Management from International College, though at different times.
- Couple No. 3 is Donna and Jeffrey Bolen. Donna attended International College first. Mr. Bolen followed a semester later. Both will receive their bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Technology. Both plan to enroll in the Information Systems Management graduate program this fall. The couple, who has been married for 32 years, admits to enjoying taking classes together.
- Couple No. 4 is Trish and Robert Hamilton. Robert, 28, an operations manager at Naples Community Hospital, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. Trish, 25, a personal banker, earned an associate degree in business administration. Their class schedules demanded they attend school three nights a week, in addition to managing their full-time jobs.
- Couple No. 4 is Kristie and Ray Van Houten. Ray Van Houten, 42, earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with International College and moved on to the master’s program. However, on February 14, 2003, Ray was activated for military duty and left on March 15, 2003, for Fort Stewart in Georgia. An MP with the Army, Ray was deployed to Kuwait shortly thereafter. He remained overseas for about six months, but he was sent back to Georgia after sustaining a non-threatening injury. He re-enrolled at International College for the winter 2004 term with the hopes of graduating with his wife, Kristie, 43, who earned an associate degree in Computer Information Technology. The couple will have been married five years in July.