Commencement Ceremonies Held for Kent State’s Columbiana County Campuses

Salem, Ohio – Kent State University at East Liverpool and Kent State University at Salem each held commencement ceremonies tonight, during which Dr. Steve Nameth, dean of the campuses, presented diplomas to more than 200 graduates participating in the two events.

The keynote speakers were Noor Din, addressing the Salem graduates, and Tom Rutledge, speaking to the East Liverpool graduates. Each congratulated the graduates and acknowledged their achievements, but each speaker also challenged them to give back to their communities.

Din, who migrated to Canada from Pakistan, encouraged the Kent State Salem graduates to build a purposeful life. Last semester, several nursing students and faculty members traveled to Canada for a cultural exchange program, hosted by Din. 

He began his speech to the graduates with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr:  “We must rapidly shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” 

Din suggested that America needs to rediscover itself.  “I believe this rediscovery must start from small communities like Salem where good old American values still exist in their purity.”

Din noted that while each person pursues his or her purpose, each will face many challenges. “Challenges are necessary to make you strong and to achieve success,” he said. “Did you know that airplanes always take off against the direction of the wind? By doing so, it helps lift the plane and ascend and decreases the length of space required to take off. So go against the wind, you will rise quickly. Give up the herd mentality and set your own course that is unique.”

Din continued with a quote from Mark Twain. “To the students graduating tonight I’d like to share a quote that has always inspired me,” he began.  “‘The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.’”

Following the Salem ceremony, Kent State East Liverpool students were eager for their ceremony to begin. Graduation speaker Rutledge congratulated them on their academic and personal achievements, and acknowledged the commitment and sacrifices necessary to attain a college education.

He also focused on the importance of self-reflection and provided each graduate with a small mirror. Rutledge then asked that they take a moment to evaluate their reflections. “You probably see a beautiful smile, maybe a few more grey hairs and, perhaps in the corner of your mirror, is the image of a classmate who collaborated with you on a group project,” he said. 

“Now, I want you to go beyond your image. I want you to self-reflect and think honestly about your inner motives, your purpose, your character and your overall wellness. Self-reflection allows us to develop a better understanding of who we were, who we are and who we will become. It allows us to identify existing strengths and weakness and demands that we are both a dreamer and a realist.” 

Rutledge challenged each graduate to adopt the practice of self-reflection on a regular basis. He encouraged them to identify, create, critique and carry out strategies for personal growth. “By doing so, not only will you experience greater personal growth and satisfaction, but everyone you interact with will be better off.  Imagine having a more positive effect on those around you! What an inspiring possibility.” 

Between Kent State East Liverpool and Kent State Salem, more than 27 degrees are offered. Students may also start any one of Kent State University’s 250 bachelor’s degrees on a local campus.  Registration for summer classes is currently underway. For more information on the Kent State University Columbiana County campuses, please visit, or, call Kent State East Liverpool at 330-385-3805 or Kent State Salem at 330-332-0361.


Media Contact:
Tina Smith, 330-337-4247,

POSTED: Monday, May 12, 2014 02:35 PM
UPDATED: Thursday, December 08, 2022 09:23 AM

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