JACKSON TWP.  Stark State College will hold commencement ceremonies for its spring 2017 graduates at 2 p.m. May 21 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

The college anticipates a record 835 degrees will be awarded to 754 graduates. Also, 55 students are Timken Early College High School students who will receive their associate degrees before their high school diplomas.

Dwight Parrish, a Stark State alumnus who earned an associate degree in banking and finance in 1982, is the commencement speaker. Parrish is a customer services supervisor for AEP Ohio, directing a team responsible for serving the needs of customers in the Canton, Newark and Western Ohio districts. 

He serves the community as a member of the Eric Snow YMCA Advisory Board and the Stark State College Foundation Board of Directors, and is one of the founding board members of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. He also is a classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio, Inc., teaching financial literacy. He has been named to Stark State’s Alumni Hall of Fame, as a Big Brother of the Year for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Canton and as a Volunteer of the Year for the Canton Area YMCA.

After earning his Stark State degree, Parrish went on to earn a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) from Walsh University and an MBA from Malone University. He also is a graduate of Leadership Stark County’s 25th Class.

His commencement address is titled “The Journey Behind the Chase.”