Graduation ceremonies for Leadership Pine Bluff's Class of 2013 were conducted Tuesday night at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Graduation ceremonies for Leadership Pine Bluff’s Class of 2013 were conducted Tuesday night at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Thirty-two participants in the Greater Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce program, which consists of a day-long session each month from September through May, received certificates from LPB Executive Director Ann Williams and LPB Board President Kandy Moore. The class was the largest in the program’s 31-year history, Williams said.

“Participation has grown annually,” she said.

Graduates included Ebony Anderson, Josh Bishop, Rosie Clayton, Bonita Corbin, Chris Cummings, Barbara Dunn, Cindy Dunn, Heather Edwards, Lloyd A. Franklin II, Scott Green, Vonysha Goodwin, Mike Gunter, Carolyn Hood, Cynthia Jackson, John Lawson, Toni McCastle, Jamie McCombs, Kristin McCool, Earnestine McLaughlin, Ivan Mitchell, Ralph Owens Jr., Michael Sawyer, Tracy Shavers, Paul Skuban, Daryl A. Taylor, Angela Turner, Eric Walden Jr., James Walker, Kali Walker, Robert Wall Jr., Lafayette Woods Jr. and Tonia Worthen.

Green and Woods shared the Kathy Graves Award, which is presented annually to the person or persons who best exemplify the enthusiasm, creativity, team-building and can-do attitude for which the late Graves, a 2003 LPB graduate, is remembered. Kim Williams — the 2007 award winner — presented the prize.

LPB, which graduated its inaugural class in 1982, is for individuals who want to make a difference in the community. The issues-oriented program is designed to broaden participants’ perspectives, examines community issues, expands opportunities to develop friendships from all segments of the community and strengthens leadership skills. Selected participants have a unique opportunity to work with area CEOs, professionals, elected officials and other fellow leaders as they study leadership techniques and community issues.

Course sessions offer firsthand information on community issues including a history of area leadership, local government, law enforcement, economic development, health and human services, state government and education. Leaders in their fields conduct the sessions. Dialogue in the sessions is encouraged.

“LPB was the first leadership program in the state,” said Ann Williams, who added that volunteerism is among the traits instilled in its participants.

“You can see examples of LPB graduates’ work throughout Pine Bluff,” she said. “Most volunteers here will tell you that they’re LPB graduates. Carla Martin — a 2010 graduate of LPB — served as last year’s United Way of Southeast Arkansas campaign chair.

“Such programs as LPB are becoming more and more common nationwide,” she said.