Austin, Hughesville, was recognized May 16 at the college’s commencement ceremony in the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. He was unable to attend due to a family commitment.
A total of 836 degrees and certificates were projected to be awarded to 772 candidates for graduation, including 408 Associate of Arts degrees, 29 Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, two Associate of Science degrees, 239 Associate of Applied Science degrees, 82 Professional Certificates, and 76 Skills Certificates.
The numbers include students who attended SFCC on the Sedalia campus and at locations in Boonville, Clinton, Eldon, Lake of the Ozarks, Whiteman Air Force Base, and online. More than 300 students participated in the ceremony.
Austin is Sedalia Community President of Simmons Bank and has more than 20 years of banking experience and community involvement in the Sedalia market. He oversees the bank’s Sedalia and Green Ridge financial center retail and commercial operations.
Austin graduated from Northwest High School in 1984 where he played basketball, soccer and baseball. In 1986 he received an Associate of Arts degree from SFCC, where he played both soccer and baseball. In 1988 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in General Management from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.
“When I think about going to SFCC, what I remember most are the people from the surrounding communities I met there,” said Austin. “Some are friends, some are acquaintances and some I still see weekly in my business world. I also had good experiences relating to the other athletes. The bonds you create with your fellow students are a big part of what you remember.”
Austin said he’s a huge proponent of SFCC.
“It’s wonderful to have a growing, prospering community college in Sedalia,” he said. “As a business person who has lived in this community for years, I think the opportunities the education process offers to our corporations, and our hospital, are almost immeasurable. To watch the college grow from what it was when I was there to what it has become is truly amazing.”
Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award also is amazing, says Austin.
“I’m just a local kid who likes where he lives, enjoys working with people in the community and has been blessed to have the opportunity to stay here and raise my family,” he said. “My words of wisdom? Find something you enjoy doing and do it to the best of your ability, but don’t forsake your faith, family or friends—because that’s where the true joys of life reside.”
Austin serves on the Rotary Club of Sedalia Board of Directors and will take over as club president in July 2014. He is president of the Sedalia-Pettis County Community Service Corporation and vice president of Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County. He also is a member of the Sedalia-Pettis County United Way Board of Directors and chairman of its finance committee.
He is a past board member and president of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Sedalia Jaycees.
Austin and his wife Sheri have three sons, Logan, 21, Cortlen, 18, and Baron, 13.