A total of 617 Crowder College students received diplomas in two commencement ceremonies held at Crowder College in Neosho on Saturday.

A total of 617 Crowder College students received diplomas in two commencement ceremonies held at Crowder College in Neosho on Saturday.  
General studies students graduated in a ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Bob Sneller gymnasium and all other students graduated in another event at 1 p.m.  Following Crowder tradition, the faculty and then the graduating students marched through the Tatum Bell Tower en route to commencement.
Hailey Gilbreath, a 2017 graduate, gave the graduation address.  Gilbreath, who received her associate of arts degree in agriculture, noted three major points in her speech, referring to them as TLC.  “T” stands for trajectory, “L” for legacy and “C” for confidence. As a sixth generation of a farm family, Gilbreath altered her trajectory by attending college and choosing to better both the farm and the agriculture industry. And, for Gilbreath, her legacy with Crowder College has deep roots.
"Crowder College has a rich legacy and continues to build a legacy for future generations,” she said. “I am blessed to be able to say that I am a part of both. It all started with my Great Grandad, William Martin Musgrove, who was a part of World War II and was stationed as a laborer on Camp Crowder. He helped build the barracks that housed thousands of military men and women. Then in 1979, his son, my Papa, was one of the men who helped start up the solar energy program as well as taught the machine shop classes. I am able to continue that legacy, by graduating from Crowder College. My great grandad helped build Crowder, my grandpa helped shape Crowder, and I have the honor of representing the blue and white as I chase my dreams in the agriculture Industry," Gilbreath told those gathered.
Gilbreath stated everyone who has ever been a part of Crowder College also has their own legacy.  She explained her third point, confidence by saing, "Success is all about confidence within yourself. However, there is this thing called life that has a bad habit of showing up at the worst times. Loss of an opportunity, doors slammed in your face, failed tests, failed classes, heartbreak, when it seems like nothing is going right and the world is against you. All of these things can and will waiver your confidence. And everyone in this room, including myself, has faced one of these things or maybe all of them."
She ended her speech by encouraging others to move forward as she has. "I have altered my trajectory, I am building my legacy, and I am doing so confidently. That is exactly what all of you have done. Because if you weren’t, none of you would be receiving a degree today. Find your trajectory, build your legacy, and carry it out with confidence."
The Bob Sneller gymnasium overflowed with guests and well-wishers.  The ceremonies were also live-streamed in the adjacent Elsie Plaster Center on campus.  The spring Crowder College graduating class of 2017 represented one of the largest in the college's more than fifty year history.