Over three hundred Crowder College students received degrees and certificates during the Fall 2018 Graduation on Saturday in the Bob Sneller Gymnasium on the Neosho campus.

Dr. Glenn Coltharp, current vice-president of Student Affairs, and the next college president, introduced the academic processional. Jim Riggs, Admissions, sang the national anthem.

Interim Crowder President Dr. Thomas Burke welcomed the graduates and those in attendance.

Graduate nurse Brett Barnes gave the commencement address.

Barnes is the son of Brendan Barnes and Misty Wirth. While attending Crowder College, he served as President of the Student Nurses Association and a participant in Project NOW. He was also an Upward Bound student

Barnes received his Associate of Science degree in nursing on Saturday. He will begin his professional career in the Cardiac Care Unit at Mercy Hospital in Joplin. He also plans to continue his education to earn a Bachelor's, Masters, and eventually a Doctorate in Nursing.

The theme of his commencement address was "The best way to predict your future is to create it."

Barnes based his speech on a quote from President Abraham Lincoln who once said, "The best way to create your future is to create it."

"Let me be one of the first to congratulate each and every one of you for your commitment not only to ourselves but also the communities in which you live," Barnes said. "I have no doubt in my mind that each and every one of you are capable of great things. There is nothing you cannot achieve."

In his address, Barnes listed five items on what he called a to-do list in which he urged his fellow graduates to develop their visions, to complete a personal assessment, to set goals, to cultivate appropriate, positive habits, and to create a list of Nevers.

"Never will I allow anyone else to tell me what I cannot achieve. Never will I allow others to influence me in a negative manner. Never will I perform below my highest standards. Never will I look back and think "what if?"

As he concluded, Barnes congratulated his classmates and referenced something each graduate found as they took their seats in the Sneller gymnasium.

"When you took your seats this morning, you may have noticed something in your chair. No, it was not gum but rather a penny. Let this coin remind you of Abe Lincoln and his wise words."

Crowder College Board of Trustees President Andy Wood introduced the conferring of degrees and certifications. JP Dickey, Director of Admissions, Neosho and Monte Padgett, Director of the Nevada campus, introduced each graduate as they received their diploma or certificate.

Dr. Burke directed the graduates to turn their tassels after the ceremony.

Crowder has presented 1,154 degrees and certifications for the 2017-18 academic year.