Paris Junior College celebrated its 98th Spring graduation at 7:00 pm Friday, May 12, at Noyes Stadium.
At the ceremony’s opening, Dr. Pam Anglin, PJC president, recognized retiring faculty and staff Shannon Callaway, Jeff Norris, Rita Pringle, Mallie Hood, and Paul May, who had 109 years at PJC together.
As of Friday, 537 students had applied to graduate this spring, of whom 41 percent are men and 59 percent are women, ranging in age from 17 to 72 years old. The graduates included 125 dual credit students from 15 high schools in PJC’s five-county service area. They represent 31 Texas counties, seven states, and Mexico and South Africa.
“This has been an extraordinary group of students,” said Anglin, “and it has been wonderful to get to know them and learn of their aspirations.”
They presented Physics faculty member Lee LaRue the Master Teacher Teaching Excellence Award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium, plaque, and medallion.
According to the nominations by fellow faculty, LaRue spends hours working with students individually to ensure they have a good grasp of the concepts from his class. Many former students remember him as “their best teacher” and delivers complicated subjects such as Calculus 3 and Differential Equations in a manner that builds confidence and understanding.
Next came the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), the highest student honor given at PJC, presented to a PJC graduate since 1935. The Award recognizes academic achievement and service to PJC and the community, and they provide it to an outstanding graduating student. Louis B. Williams was the first to receive it, later becoming Paris Junior College’s president.
Chosen was Brendan Batchelder, a 2015 graduate of Denver Center for International Studies in Denver, Colorado, who is Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college honor society, and a member of the Student Government Association, Texas Student Advisory Council, the 2023 All-Texas Academic Team, 2023 All USA Academic Team, All Texas Century Scholar, American Medical Society Student Association Pre-med Transfer Scholarship recipient, 2023 Mr. PJC Nominee and been named twice to the President’s List. He represented PJC in Austin at Community College Day 2023. He plans to transfer to the biomedical sciences program at Texas A&M University and apply to medical school after that to pursue a dual PhD and MD.
Other DSA nominees included Ryan Davis, Celia Hagler, Samantha Puente, and Jacob Thomas.
Physics faculty member Lee LaRue was presented the Master Teacher Teaching Excellence Award. which includes a $1,000 honorarium, plaque, and medallion.
According to the nominations by fellow faculty, LaRue spends hours working with students one on one to make sure they have a good grasp of the concepts from his class. He is remembered by many former students as “their best teacher” and delivers complicated subjects such as Calculus 3 and Differential Equations in a manner that builds confidence and understanding.