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WKU confers degrees to more than 1,300 at 172nd Commencement

Amy Winkler has had a final semester to remember at WKU.

Amy Winkler of Murray was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Award recipient at WKU's 172nd Commencement on Dec. 15. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Amy Winkler of Murray was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Award recipient at WKU’s 172nd Commencement on Dec. 15. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

On Oct. 20, she was crowned WKU’s 2012 Homecoming Queen. On Saturday, she received the Ogden Foundation Award, WKU’s top graduation honor, at WKU’s 172nd Commencement. The award is presented to one graduating baccalaureate degree senior who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and outstanding university and civic engagement.

“This past semester has been such a whirlwind; I think I am still waiting for someone to pinch me,” said Winkler, the daughter of Scott and Angela Winkler of Murray. “But, I certainly could never have gotten to this point without the encouragement of so many people at WKU.”

WKU conferred degrees to more than 1,300 graduates — 78 associates degrees, 928 baccalaureate degrees, 18 undergraduate certificates, 316 master’s degrees and nine doctor of education degrees — during morning and afternoon ceremonies at Diddle Arena.

Winkler, an accounting major in the Gordon Ford College of Business, has participated in numerous organizations and volunteer activities during her four years on the Hill. She is a WKU Spirit Master and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society and WKU Greek Hall of Fame. She has served as an accounting intern at the General Motors Corvette Assembly plant in Bowling Green and at Red Rock Government Services in Washington, D.C.

“WKU has created limitless opportunities for all students,” she said. “I have had the opportunity to be involved in many organizations on campus and work with numerous encouraging people. WKU has offered a support system that is unmatched. I am so honored to represent WKU in the capacities I have and am such a proud Hilltopper.”

In her remarks, Winkler thanked WKU administrators, faculty and staff for their support and encouragement and congratulated fellow graduates.

“We have all taken various paths to get here, but none the less we have made it,” she told members of the Class of 2012. “Take a moment to recognize your accomplishment. It takes much dedication, sacrifice and hard work to be sitting in these seats. In our time on the Hill, we have gained knowledge, experience and most importantly spirit. Take your enthusiasm and spread it around this community, this nation and this world. It is vital we all recognize this is just the first step of our long journey.  This is not the end of anything, just the beginning of everything.”

WKU President Gary Ransdell delivered remarks at morning and afternoon ceremonies. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU President Gary Ransdell delivered remarks at morning and afternoon ceremonies. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

In his remarks, WKU President Gary Ransdell also reminded graduates that “today perhaps marks the end of your collegiate career, but the requirement of Commencement is that you must now commence. As you think back over the many accomplishments of the past few years, you no doubt can identify contributions and achievements that never occurred – all due to a failure to begin, to commence.”

“But today is a testament of what you did begin and did complete — a degree. It all started with that first decision to pursue a college education,” Dr. Ransdell said. “As you leave this beloved Hill, do not let anything deter you from exercising your WKU Spirit — from being a leader.”

The 9:30 a.m. ceremony included students in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Gordon Ford College of Business and Potter College of Arts & Letters. The 2 p.m. ceremony included students in the College of Health and Human Services, University College and Ogden College of Science and Engineering. (More: Additional photos from Fall 2012 Commencement are available on the WKU Facebook page.)

ROTC commissioning

Seven Hilltopper Army ROTC cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants — Jerome Anderson of Bowling Green, Jared Bridges of Paducah, William Carter of Elizabethtown, Alicia Carver of Radcliff, Kenny Green of Riverview, Fla., Meredith Hitt of Nashville, Tenn., and Joel Padgett of Glasgow.

Doctoral graduates

Nine doctoral degree recipients in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences were recognized in the morning ceremony.

Margaret Crowder of Franklin, Kristie Broadbent Guffey of Smiths Grove, Jace Lux of Bowling Green, Annette Parker of Lexington, Gregory Ross of Paducah, Christopher Schmidt of Columbia, Rhonda Simpson of Glasgow, and Lee Ann Wall of Columbia received WKU’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. (Read more about the eight Ed.D. graduates at http://wkunews.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/fall2012comm-edd-grads/)

Leigh K. Lindsey of Bowling Green received a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration in a cooperative arrangement between WKU and the University of Louisville.

Scholars of the College awards

WKU recognized nine Scholars of the College, who had the highest GPAs in their colleges while completing at least 60 credit hours at WKU.

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Emily Dahl of Louisville, an elementary education major, Honors College graduate, wife of David Dahl and daughter of Steve and Diane Harrod; Alyson Embry of Henryville, Ind., an elementary education major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Roger and Rhonda Embry.
  • Gordon Ford College of Business: Kevin Conley of Hudson, Ohio, a management major, Honors College graduate and son of Kevin and Del Marie Conley; Morgan Johnson of Evansville, Ind., an accounting major and daughter of Richie and Gina Johnson; Amy Winkler of Murray, an accounting major and daughter of Scott and Angela Winkler.
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters: Audrey Gearhart of Newburgh, Ind., an English for secondary teachers major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Kent and Cathy Gearhart.
  • College of Health and Human Services: Mikell Barzee of Bowling Green, a dental hygiene major, wife of Nathan Barzee and daughter of Jonathan and Lori Nelson.
  • University College: Craig Swindle of Lafayette, Tenn., a computer information technology major and son of Leslie and Judy Swindle.
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Brittany Morgan of Franklin, a biochemistry major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Freddy and Sue Morgan.

Commencement notes

The fall graduating class included 42 international students from 13 countries. … The grand march was led by English professor Mary Ellen Miller who has been a WKU faculty member for 49 years. … Each graduate also was given a Class of 2012 WKU red towel to wave at the end of the ceremony. … DVDs of the ceremonies can be ordered for $35 each at http://www.wkyupbs.org; for information, contact WKYU-PBS at (800) 599-2424.

More: Additional photos from Fall 2012 Commencement are available on the WKU Facebook page; 33 current or former WKU student-athletes graduated.

Contact: Registrar’s Office, (270) 745-3351.

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