SMC honor graduates hear Herr

Published 5:38 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2016

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Never stop learning.

Live passionately pursuing knowledge.

And speak so people will love hearing what you say, Dr. Ron Herr, retiring economics and business professor, advised Southwestern Michigan College’s honor graduates April 21 in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

“Everything I learned opened a new level of understanding for something else,” Herr said. “The paradox is the more you learn, the more you’ll understand how little you know. I encourage you to have a significant level of ambiguity in your life that you don’t know it all and are always willing to be taught. The world is going to want to hear what you have to say, but be very humble so you can pass on what you have learned, as opposed to talking over everyone’s head.

“Find out what you love to do, then go do it,” Herr continued. “But I caution you not to walk over everybody as you’re dancing through life. A lot of people are not in that situation. They’re living 9-to-5 lives, putting in time to be able to get home. They hate their jobs, hate their boss. Give them a cheery hello and a sincere smile to let them know you recognize them as you waltz through life. You’re bright people, doing a great job, but sometimes terrible things will happen in the midst of your quest for happiness. The death of a loved one. Losing a job to downsizing. Bad things happen to good people. Pick up the pieces and move on.”

“We teach in business the customer is always right,” Herr said. “I had to learn to make customers feel right by showing respect for their feelings. Working in committees or on teams, you need to learn to tell people what they want to hear. That sounds like dishonest politics. I wanted to tell them the way it is, but you’re going to be the smart one in the crowd, so be a team player, respect the opinions of others and be humble.”

President Dr. David Mathews introduced Herr, who enjoyed a 35-year career in four industries — non-profits, insurance, health care and education, earning designation as a certified public accountant, a chartered property casualty underwriter and a certified employee benefits specialist.

Herr worked as an accountant, a salesperson, a controller, chief financial officer and president, attaining a master’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University and his doctorate from Andrews University.

Herr has been married to Christine for 45 years June 6, with four grown children and 12 grandchildren.

The Herrs lived in Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, California and Texas before returning to Michigan 20 years ago.

The 124 students graduating with honors at SMC’s 49th Commencement May 7 were recognized for earning cumulative grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher: Morgan Adams, Susan Ardon, Alisha Askew, Sarah Aubin, Marissa Baerwald, Marissa Blackmond, Rachel Brewer, Nicole Brill, Sydney Brooks, Lee Burgher, Jessica Burnworth, Allen Butchbaker, Jayla Carrigan, Alexis Christie, Jesse Cleveland, Allissa Corak, Sarah Craft, Danielle Curley, Hannah Curry, Jacqueline Davis, Joshua DeRosa, Daniel Downs, Adam Dubs, Jonathan Durand, Joseph Eggert, Katie Elder, Kaitlyn Eldridge, Adam Emerson, Elisabeth Fellows, Alexander Flick, Bailey Foster, Aimee Franc, Emily French, Kimberlee Gabrielson, Cheyenne Gargano, Jacob Gongwer, Dakotah Haas, Jacob Hainer, Stephanie Hammond, Lori Hanlin, Abigail Harrison, Michaela Hellenthal, Kevin Helliwell, Mercy Henderson, Lamarr Herring, Blake Herwick, Megan Hildebrandt, Rebecca Hoekstra, Kelsey Hovey, Amber Hummel, Olivier Ishimwe, Andrew Joy, Cody Kelch, Elizabeth Kelly, Katherine Kimbler, Rachel King, Victoria Knight, Joseph Kuhlman, Keith Kwieran, Jackie LaBranche, Michelle LaMore, Paul Lamson, Laura Larson, Robert LeCount, Shaniiya Logan, Stephen Lundquist, Gabriella Mamouzelos, Michael Marhanka, Collin Mattiford, Robert Mayfield, Ackley McKee, Alma Moreno, Crystal Morrow, Jesse Newton, Allyson Nutt, Connor Olkowski, Jennifer Oswalt, Abby Parris, Ciara Peel, Camilla Perez, Alexis Peters, Alexander Phillips, Samantha Pompey, Thomas Preston, Rhonda Purcell, Christine Rainwater, Megan Raya, Alex Reitz, Madalyn Reneberg, Keren Reyes, Shawna Ridenour, Patricia Robinson, Jay Roder, Elizabeth Rumley, Brooke Rynders, Donald Sachman, Riana Sass, Jennifer Schaus, Emily Schrock, Ian Sharp, Brittany Smith, Drake Smith, Haley Smith, Sydney Starring, Karisa Steffens, Miranda Stepka, Brendan Stewart, Bruno Streck Rodrigues, Dylan Swartz, Jasmine Thompson, Kyle Valentine, Angel Vasquez Garduno, Austin Vega, Alejandra Vences Jurado, Kayla Villegas, Benjamin Wells, Paige Wetmore, Alyson Wheeler, Brittany Williams, Kaitlyn Williams, Dylan Williamson, Jennifer Wolf, Hailey Wright and Michaela Zielke.

Social Science Chair Christi Young, 2015-16 Fulltime Faculty Member of the Year, and Bonnie Roberts, math, 2015-16 Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year, read honor graduates’ names.

Dr. David Fleming, vice president of instruction, announced 2016-17 part-time faculty finalists as Joseph Coti, George Field, Cody Miller, Erin Russell and Melinda Wall.

Fulltime faculty finalists are Heather Day, Kyle Kelly, Melissa Kennedy, Dr. Anna Norris and Shelley Todd. Winners will be announced May 2.

Southwestern Michigan College is a public, residential and commuter, community college, founded in 1964. The college averages in the top 10 percent nationally for student academic success based upon the National Community College Benchmark Project. Southwestern Michigan College strives to be the college of first choice, to provide the programs and services to meet the needs of students, and to serve our community. The college is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges.