By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor
A Willard man has been named the 2016 North Central State College Student of the Year.
Daniel Murray, the son of Donald Murray and the late Jean Murray, will receive the honor on Friday, May 6 at graduation ceremonies on the NCSC campus in Mansfield. He is also the grandson of the late Raymond and Irene Fitzwater. He and his wife, Heather, live in Willard.
Murray was also one of 55 students across the state to be named to the All-Ohio Academic Team on April 21 during ceremonies at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.
He also received a commendation from the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives, along with a scholarship. They were presented to him by Dr. Dorey Diab, president of North Central State College.
Dr. Jo Alice Blondin said the students who were the newest members of the All-Ohio Academic Team excelled at academics, showed outstanding service and exceptional leadership.
“Some are moving into the workforce,” Blondin pointed out. “Others are going to further their education. All of the community colleges are proud of each of their students.”
Rep. Ryan Smith, of the 93rd District for the Ohio House of Representatives praised the value of community colleges.
“Our community colleges are some of the best bang for the buck in Ohio,” he said. “These are the leaders of tomorrow. As you move on to meet the future, be an advocate for your industry. You made a great investment in education by choosing a community college.
“Education is a huge investment for our state,” Smith, noted. “We firmly believe that.”
State Senator Gayle Manning, whose district includes Lorain and Huron counties, was a former school teacher. She praised the students at the Statehouse for their achievements while furthering their education.
“I hope you continue to focus your efforts to secure skills for the 21st century workforce,” Manning said. “These institutions provide affordable education and allows immediate response to their communities.”
Honda was the sponsor for the ceremonies at the Ohio Statehouse. Bobbie Trittschuh, executive director of the Honda of America Foundation, said the car company was proud to sponsor the event which honored “the best students from Ohio’s community colleges.”
At North Central State College, Murray is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for students at two-year colleges. Phi Theta Kappa started the All-State Academic team program in 1994. He serves as vice-president at his chapter and is an English tutor for the college. His advisor is Barbara Keener, who is also the head of Tutoring and Transition Services for North Central Technical College.
The 2016 All-Ohio Academic Team program provides statewide recognition and cash scholarships to outstanding two-year college students. To be eligible, students must be nominated to the All-USA Academic team and must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.50.
Murray graduated from Willard High School in 1996. He had attended North Central State College from 1996 to 1999 and returned to the Mansfield college in the Spring semester of 2014.
His major is in Information Technology.
“It was because of my father,” Murray pointed out. “He had a Commodore 64 computer. I’ve been around computers now since the age of 5. That’s where I started.”
Through one of his courses at college, Murray developed a love for photography. He lost his mother, who was an award winning photographer, seven months ago after a battle against a rare form of cancer.
“When I told my mom I was going to take photography, she just said she wanted to do my best,” he recalled. “She didn’t hesitate to give me her brand new camera.“Four months later, I finished the course with an ‘A,’” Murray added. “My mom was the first person I told.”