FREMONT - Jerome Webster officially became Terra State Community College's sixth president during an inaugural ceremony Friday.
While this is the first inauguration at Terra State, it is tradition at many higher education institutions and generally takes place during the first year after the president is appointed.
Webster took over as president July 1.
"We are very excited to incorporate this important academic ritual into our culture and history," said Michael Shirtz, dean of business and creative arts and chair of the celebration.
Events leading up to the ceremony were meant to honor established relationships, forge new partnerships and create a common understanding of Terra State and a vision of its future. These events were part of a series titled "Celebrate Terra State."
The inaugural ceremony itself is the installation, or investiture, of the college's new leadership. This ritual is the official act of the institution taking a historic step into its next chapter.
The event began with the inauguration academic procession. Representatives from the trustees, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, students, emeriti, past presidents, regional colleges and universities, partnering institutions and affiliated professional organizations processed into the Student Activities Center.
Representatives from the constituencies Terra State serves provided a series of short greetings welcoming Webster to his position.
Fremont Mayor James Ellis first welcomed Webster and instilled in him the hope Terra has been able to fulfill in the students, parents and community.
"Now you hold these hopes in your hands," Ellis said.
Other representatives gave their appreciation of Webster's past work and gave their best wishes.
Carl Koebel, chairman of Terra's board of trustees, presented Webster with the college medallion, which symbolizes the official transfer of power of leadership as the college's chief executive officer.
The medallion is a replica of the official seal of the college and incorporates symbols that represent the areas of study as well as the concept of lifelong learning.
Webster then was introduced by Marsha Bordner, president emerita of Terra State, who referred to Webster as "Rocket."
"Being that he is an alum of the University of Toledo twice over, receiving his master and doctoral degrees, he has accomplished so much in so little time and with such great speed," Bordner said.
The address given by Webster was one that expressed great thanks to the students, faculty and staff of Terra State along with the partners of agencies in the community and other four-year institutions.
"I am deeply touched that so many could make it today, and to come out to support this great jewel that is Terra State," Webster said.
Webster expressed his vision for the advancement of Terra State in becoming a leader as a premier academic institution.
"Vision 2016" is to provide many changes to the core and facade of Terra State. Many programs are being created to further the education and to close the skill gap of students. Students will be given the drive and skills to further their careers. Renovations also are in place. Retail and residential housing for students are to be built and a new entrance is in the works to be directed off of SR 53.
The entrance was funded through a $200,000 state grant and is to be built in the spring.
"This is our time," Webster said, "We have more of an opportunity now to seize it."