(Gallery by Mike Brantley | mbrantley@al.com)

May 07, 2013

By Sally Pearsall Ericson | sericson@al.com

Last June, in the Electronics Engineering Technology program at Bishop State Community College, James Deese created a Voice Interface Controlled Robot that understands language and reacts to voice command.

He believes that his robot, also known as VICR, is a way for quadriplegics and the elderly to retrieve items with the use of a robot.

Tuesday night, Deese graduated magna cum laude from Bishop State during the college's spring commencement exercises at Mobile Civic Center.

"I've enjoyed the last two years at Bishop State," he said. "Everything I've learned is hands-on." He is already part of the working world; since September he has been employed at Technip.

Taylor Singletary, who graduated summa cum laude, received the President's Outstanding Student Award. A 2011 graduate of Murphy High School, he played baseball at Bishop State and now plans to enroll at Alabama State University, with the long-term goal of earning a master's degree in sports administration.

Nearly 300 earned degrees or certificates at the ceremony. Nine members of the Class of 1963 were awarded honorary diplomas in recognition of their graduation 50 years ago.

Mary Scott Hunter, a member of the Alabama State Board of Education, gave the keynote address. She is the daughter of Scott Hunter, former University of Alabama and NFL quarterback, and Deborah Hunter of Daphne.

View: Unabridged Graduation Speech (PDF) by Mary Scott Hunter

Before the ceremony, Hunter, who lives in Huntsville, said it was great to be back home. "When you get asked to come back to give a graduation speech where you grew up, you've really made it," she said.

"These graduates have arrived at the point of embarkation, and it's really important for them to go out in the world and be influential, and what I hope to do tonight is to inspire them, congratulate them and share in their joy," she said. "It's a night to celebrate."

During her speech, Hunter reflected on the power of words. "Your words have profound, durable impact," she said. "Your words may live forever, and your influence, therefore, can be almost infinite.

"Graduates, I'm counting on you to save the world, and use your words to do it," she concluded. "Become a master of your words. You will never regret it."

By Sally Pearsall Ericson | sericson@al.com

© 2013 aol.com, Mobile, Ala.

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