The Year Of Big Numbers

100,000th Grad
"Symbolic 100,000th St. Clair Grad" Emily Weibe and family. Photo contributed by the Alumni Association.

50. 10,000. 100,000.

St. Clair achieved a number of “milestone numbers” this year, including marking its 50th anniversary, and recording an enrolment in excess of 10,000 full-time students.

And, during its October 11th Convocation ceremonies, it awarded a diploma to the 100,000th graduate in its history.

The glitch? … It could not precisely identify who that graduate was.

As college President Patti France observed in her Convocation address:

I’d like to be able to say that, since our founding in 1967, we’ve had a person standing off-stage during our Convocation sessions who was operating an ultra-accurate clicker, counting off “Graduate One, Graduate Two, Graduate Three … Graduate Eight-Thousand-and-Twenty-Seven … Graduate Seventy-Nine-Thousand-and-Sixty-Two” … and so on.

That is not the case. We’ve had a general head-count for each Convocation session during the past five decades … enough to know that Graduate Number One Hundred Thousand is somewhere among the group today. But we can’t actually say, with perfect certainty, that the third person or twenty-second or eighty-first person who crosses the stage today will have that milestone distinction.

Sorry about that.

Then again, except for the “media buzz” that we might have generated by presenting a “solid gold diploma” to Graduate Number One Hundred Thousand, such a ploy would have missed the point of this ceremony.

During this year, as an institution, we have celebrated the fact that we have furnished this community with one hundred thousand innovative and skillful graduates during our existence.

But that collective number isn’t the most important aspect of our history.

The point that I want to emphasize is that each of our graduates – just as each of our students – is precious to us … not by the hundreds or thousands or hundred-thousands … but one-by-one, as uniquely talented individuals. As students, you each faced and worked through your unique challenges of pursuing a postsecondary education … As a graduate, you have each conquered all of those challenges to secure that education.

Nevertheless, to celebrate the 100,000th Grad Achievement in a symbolic fashion, the school decided to designate – at random – one October 11th diploma-recipient in that fashion …

… So, the person who represented that milestone number was Emily Weibe, pictured with her family. Emily graduated from the college’s Medical Laboratory Technician program.