Texas State Technical College in Marshall on Friday celebrated fall commencement by graduating 55 students during its fall commencement ceremony at Wiley College in Marshall.

Friends and families of the 55 graduates packed the church on Friday as they watched their loved ones take the stage one at a time to earn diplomas and certifications in fields including computer aided drafting, cybersecurity, software development, electrical lineworker technology, process operations technology, industrial systems, diesel equipment technology, welding, business management and others.

“You have achieved a degree which will take you places 90 percent of the world will never see,” Marshall Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) Director of Business Services Rush Harris said on Friday.

Harris served as the keynote commencement speaker for TSTC Marshall for the second time on Friday and had words of encouragement, as well as challenges for the graduates.

“You’ve all made a choice to better yourselves to become knowledgeable in a technical skill,” he said. “I consider TSTC graduates some of the smartest technically and some of the savviest job wise. You have engaged the pursuit and you finished it. I commend you.”

Harris said in Texas, only two out of five people have a degree above that of high school.

“In Marshall, it’s one out of five people,” Harris said. “Many towns like Marshall, love students like you. We love you. Employers love you. Communities love you. As an economic developer, I love students like you and schools like TSTC. You have graduated and you’ve done it at a fraction of a cost of other colleges and for a potential average wage well above your contemporaries. Not too shabby.”

Harris said TSTC graduates have averaged a wage growth of over 5.3 percent over the past decade while the national average is 3.5 percent.

Harris then challenged the graduates as they take their next step in life.

“Number one, know who you are. What makes you tick,” he said. “Number two, challenge yourself. When you push yourself beyond the expected limits, you gain in mind, body and spirit. And, number three, never stop learning. I personally believe the day you stop trying to learn something is the day you start dying.”