U.S. Rep. Mike Carey (OH-15) delivers 2024 commencement address

On Saturday, May 11, Marion Military Institute (MMI) welcomed U.S. Rep. Mike Carey as the college’s 2024 Commencement Speaker, 33 years after his own graduation and commissioning from MMI. The congressman from Ohio still values his lifelong friendships forged as a cadet and advised the graduating class to keep those Marion connections intact. Proving that point, seated in the audience were Ron Storey and Deborra Street, his first MMI roommate and former performing arts director, respectively.

Returning to the rural Alabama campus, Rep. Carey touched on the school’s storied history (since 1842), and reminded the graduates: “Singularly, we are but a blip on the majesty of this great institution. But together, we represent this institution’s legacy.”

Building on the foundation he received from MMI’s Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program, Rep. Carey earned his bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University. As a professional, he spent more than 20 years as an energy company executive before being elected to represent Ohio’s 15th Congressional District in 2021. Keeping a promise to a late classmate, Rep. Carey established an internship program for MMI cadets in his Washington, D.C. office, which has already borne fruit.

In closing, Carey assured the MMI class of 2024 that their formative years in Marion will prepare them for challenges ahead: “Remember that the strength you developed here will stay with you. Better still, it will grow like a towering longleaf pine and provide you shade and comfort for the rest of your life. … I am honored, humbled, to be before you today not only as a graduate, but as somebody who’s looking into the future of this country—and I’m proud of what I see.”

A member of the Alabama Community College System, MMI is the oldest military junior college in the nation and educates students from more than 40 U.S. states and territories