In her career, Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner has been a waitress at Shoney’s, a high school and community college teacher and computer programmer.

Today, she is the president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the oldest and most prestigious for students seeking associate degrees and credentials from community colleges and other open-access institutions.

In addressing the Itawamba Community College Class of 2019 during graduation ceremonies Friday, she offered practical advice, since her unique perspective might be traced back to what she refers to as an “advanced degree from the school of hard knocks.”

“I love graduations,” Tincher-Ladner said. “They are my Super Bowl.” She expressed appreciation, especially to the families of the graduates. “You’ve missed dinners and ballgames. We’re here to celebrate because it’s all worth it.”

“Cheers to you, the Class of 2019,” she said. “After today you can call yourselves college graduates. To your employers, you can prove that you can finish what you start.”

Tincher-Ladner emphasized the value of education. “It is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity. You have worked hard and this class has earned over 36,000 hours of college credit.”

To the class, she offered practical advice. “Do the jobs no one else wants to do. Always lead from where you are. Be patient. Value your skills and ability, and be your own personal board of directors. Don’t make decisions alone.”

Tincher-Ladner said that community colleges are places of quality learning and opportunity. She noted that Itawamba Community College has one of the highest completion rates, not only in the state, but in the country.

“Be as proud of yourselves as we are of you. No matter what your next step is, remember your first step was at Itawamba.”

Approximately 550 graduates participated in the ceremonies during which Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science and certificates of completion were awarded at the Davis Event Center at the Fulton Campus.

Instructors Ric Chandler of Fulton and Betsy White of Tupelo, who are retiring this month, served as faculty marshals.

Ninety-seven associate degree nursing graduates received their pins during a special ceremony Thursday night.

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