LWC Graduates 411, Awards First Ph.D. at 2018 Winter Commencement

COLUMBIA, KY. -- Guests in attendance at Lindsey Wilson College’s winter commencement ceremony on Saturday witnessed history in the making.

The liberal arts college conferred its first doctorate degree in counselor education and supervision, the first Ph.D. to be awarded in the college’s 115-year history.

Leon Ellison of Cincinnati received a standing ovation from graduates and onlookers as he crossed the stage in Biggers Sports Center to become the first graduate of the Doctorate of Philosophy in Counselor Education & Supervision Program.

“I can remember my first class. I was with all of these accomplished professors, some of them I had quoted in papers. And then there were the other seven members of my cohort who are very intelligent and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I’m supposed to be here.’ But it pushed me. I knew for me to get through this I would need to step it up and push harder,” said Ellison.

Ellison was among 411 individuals who were awarded undergraduate and graduate degrees as the first half of LWC’s Class of 2019.  

“We call this commencement because these graduates are about to begin the next phase of their lives,” said LWC President William T. Luckey Jr. “There is some sadness as good friends part but there is great joy as we celebrate what these graduates have done. And there is excitement about what their futures hold. This is the moment that students and parents, spouses and faculty have been anticipating.”

And Luckey said Ellison’s accomplishment will go down in LWC’s history as one defined by resiliency and a passion for success.

“Leon’s road to a doctorate degree was not an easy one. But what a testament to his determination, perseverance and grit to achieve this remarkable accomplishment,” said Luckey. “I congratulate our incredible faculty for pushing and helping Leon achieve his dreams.”

Ellison, who also received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from LWC, hopes that he can use this degree to change the conversation and help others to realize that success is a choice.

“Many times I hear our youth or even our clinicians say they are a product of their environment,” said Ellison who currently works as the clinical manager and supervisor of a community agency group in Cincinnati. “I want my story to change that for these people. I want people instead to begin to say and understand they are a product of their decisions and choices.”

“Someone once asked me if I could go back in my life would I change my story all together? And the answer is no, I wouldn’t. Because then I would not have the experiences or the opportunity to tell the story that I’m telling today to help other people overcome and rise above.”

See more from LWC 2018 Winter Commencement: 

View and download LWC 2018 winter commencement graduate photos with President Luckey. 

Click here to see a photo blog from 2018 winter commencement. 

Click here to see more photos of Ph.D. recipient Leon Ellison at 2018 winter commencement. 

Click here to see scenes from 2018 winter commencement.