FORT RILEY — Donning big smiles and holding hands, Dionne and Derrick Sullivan were at the front of the room, about to make a big commitment, but they weren’t getting married. They already tied the knot years ago. This time, the walk down the aisle was accompanied by “Pomp and Circumstance,” and their commitment was to continued education and self-improvement. The Sullivans were graduating on the same day with associate degrees in general studies from Barton Community College at Fort Riley.
Barton at Fort Riley celebrated the graduation of nearly 170 students on Tuesday at Riley’s Conference Center. Of the 170 graduating, 96 chose to walk.
The Sullivans said it was pure coincidence they finished their degrees at the same time. Dionne transferred some credits to Barton and worked toward finishing her degree. In her last year, she recommended her husband do the same, but he was closer to being done.
“It’s awesome,” Derrick said of sharing the experience with his wife. “It just happened like that, and it has made this an even more memorable event.”
Graduates and their friends and families gathered in the conference center and heard from commencement speaker Brigadier General Christopher J. Ghika of the United Kingdom. He drove home the point that education is not only formal schooling, it is a continual process that needs attention every day.
Ghika shared a quote from Newton Baker with the class of 2014 to further illustrate his meaning. “The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.”
Earlier in the day, Barton also held an Honors Ceremony for students in the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Fraternity, which recognizes non-traditional students who maintain a 3.5 GPA and have completed at least 24 credit-hours. They also honored members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which recognizes students that carry a 3.5 GPA and are enrolled in at least 12 credit-hours.