Three Rivers Celebrates Class of 2015 at Commencement Ceremony

May 26, 2015

Three Rivers College filled the Black River Coliseum to celebrate the institution’s newest graduating class on Friday, May 15. Over 550 students in Three Rivers’ degree and certificate programs were eligible to walk across the stage during Friday’s ceremony.

Larry DeWitt, a Three Rivers alumnus, Sikeston resident, and successful entrepreneur, gave the commencement speech to the Class of 2015. In his speech, DeWitt emphasized the importance for graduates to not only work hard, but to work hard at finding their passion.

“Do something you absolutely love. If you love it, you will succeed. It won’t be work, it will be fun,” said DeWitt. “You can open your eyes to a wonderful life if you make the right choice for your career. Continue your education and find a career you love.”

Ben Ressel, Chair of the Three Rivers College Board of Trustees and Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College, also spoke at the event. The Three Rivers College Choir, directed by Cindy White, Instructor of Music, performed “The Way Home,” adapted by Stephen Paulus.

Amanda Hendrix, a student veteran and member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, stands to be recognized by Three Rivers College President Dr. Wesley Payne during Three Rivers’ 2015 Commencement Ceremony at the Black River Coliseum on May 15.“It’s immensely gratifying to me to see so many graduates heading off into a better life with a degree from Three Rivers,” said Ressel. “I look out at the faces of these graduates and see such potential. They are the future of Southeast Missouri, and it looks to be a bright one.”

The college also honored several outstanding graduates at the ceremony, and recognized its many first-generation, non-traditional, veteran, and multi-generation graduates. Among the individual graduates spotlighted were:

  • Megan Tubb, a first-generation graduate who has been active in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the peer tutoring program, and Collegiate DECA, and who is graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
  • Leanne Baker, a non-traditional student who returned to school at Three Rivers after losing her job with a local company, and who completed her degree while still taking care of her busy family and working as a work-study at Three Rivers.
  • Zachary and Joshua Hoffmeister, brothers who graduated Three Rivers at the same time. Joshua was homeschooled, and returned to Three Rivers to complete his degree after starting a family. Zachary is a graduate of the business department and is planning on using his degree to move forward with his current employer.
  • Campbell Keele, a multi-generation graduate, whose father graduated from Three Rivers in 2001 and now serves as a member of the college’s adjunct faculty.
  • Amanda Hendrix, a student veteran who served two tours in Iraq during her time in the Air Force. Amanda, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, graduated Summa Cum Laude and plans to continue her studies in social work at Arkansas State University.

This year marks the 47th anniversary of the college’s first commencement ceremony since its founding in 1966. Since then, Three Rivers has served over 100,000 students from its degree, transfer, and career-technical programs. Registration is currently open for Summer and Fall classes at Three Rivers. To learn more about registering for classes at Three Rivers, call the Welcome Center at 573-840-9605 or visit

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit