WKU’s 171st Commencement began Friday night with the graduate ceremony at Diddle Arena as more than 500 students received doctoral, master’s and specialist degrees and graduate certificates.
Folk Studies student Rachel Hopkin, a native of southern England, received the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student and was named the outstanding graduate student in Potter College of Arts & Letters.
Before coming to WKU, Hopkin worked for the British Broadcasting Company and as an independent radio producer in Argentina. At WKU, she has produced radio documentaries on folk life, successfully nominated the Hardcastle Store in rural Warren County to the National Register of Historic Places, worked as a researcher for projects in Allen County and the Great Smoky Mountains, received a grant to study banjo player George Gibson, worked with Dr. Erika Brady to implement a course in Folklore and Radio Production, and received the Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship from the Society of Architectural Historians and the Historic American Buildings Survey.
“Rachel is meticulous in her work and a natural born folklorist,” John D. Minton Jr., chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, said in presenting the award named for his late father. (Dr. John D. Minton, WKU’s first graduate dean, served as vice president for Administrative Affairs and as WKU’s fifth president.)
Eleven more recipients of WKU’s doctoral degree in educational leadership were recognized: Kirk Biggerstaff of Tompkinsville, Wes Cottongim of Bowling Green, Tim Gott of Bowling Green, Robert “Bob” Jackson of Murray, Linda Keller of Owensboro, Tony Kirchner of Bowling Green, Benny Lile of Three Springs, Chris Mueller of Munfordville, Jo Shackelford of Bowling Green, Kevin Thomas of Bowling Green, and Wesley Waddle of Munfordville. (Read more about the Ed.D. graduates on the WKU News page.)
Pat Brown Jordan of Bowling Green received a doctor of philosophy degree in educational leadership through a cooperative arrangement between WKU and the University of Louisville.
In addition to Hopkin, other recipients of outstanding graduate student awards were:
- College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Jessica Holmin of Bowling Green, Psychology. Holmin has conducted research on human vision and has published four articles in internationally prominent scientific journals.
- Gordon Ford College of Business: Mariah Yates of Bowling Green, Business Administration. Yates has served as president of the MBA Student Association and serves on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council.
- Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Yanfen Li of China, Chemistry. Li has co-authored four journal articles, has given numerous conference presentations and received “Best Graduate Paper” at the WKU Student Research Conference.
- University College: Wouter Van Alebeek of The Netherlands, Leadership Dynamics. Van Alebeek’s capstone project evaluated assessment tools in international education. He is serving as interim study abroad advisor at WKU.
- College of Health and Human Services: Margaret Stringer of Carlsbad, Calif., Recreation and Sport Administration. Stringer is member of the Medallion Honor Society, Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity and the Recreation and Sports Majors Club.
- The Class of 2012 included 77 international students from 13 countries.
- Army ROTC cadet Michael Terry of Bowling Green was commissioned as second lieutenant; 19 other cadets will take the oath of commission at Saturday’s 6 p.m. undergraduate ceremony.
- Provost Gordon Emslie recognized two graduate faculty members who are retiring: Dr. Christine Nagy, Department of Public Health; and Dr. Bud Schlinker, Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research.
- More photos from the graduate ceremony are available on the WKU Facebook page.
Commencement Weekend continues
- WKU will conduct three undergraduate ceremonies Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Also Saturday, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky will recognize its fifth graduating class at 1 p.m. at Van Meter Hall.
- Commencement activities conclude Sunday with the WKU-Owensboro Commencement Ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at RiverPark Center and the WKU-Elizabethtown/Radcliff/Fort Knox Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. at John Hardin High School.
Contact: Registrar’s Office, (270) 745-3351.