The Class of 2012 waved red towels and saluted the red, white and blue as three undergraduate ceremonies of WKU’s 171st Commencement concluded Saturday evening with the commissioning of 19 Army ROTC cadets.
The Hilltopper Battalion class is the largest to be commissioned this year in the five-state brigade (Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) headquartered at Fort Knox and among the top 10 in the nation for May graduates.
“As a university steeped in rich tradition, another one of our Commencement traditions blends with national achievement and stirs the emotions with respect to duty and honor and country,” WKU President Gary Ransdell said. “We are honored this evening to recognize new graduates who are beginning their careers as second lieutenants in the United States Army.”
Lt. Col. Jason Caldwell, head of WKU’s Department of Military Science and Leadership, administered the oath of commission to Dominique Adams of Indianapolis; Jacob Baldwin of Guston; Cody Balke of Brownsville; Kalan Brown of Bowling Green; Justin Cossel of Bowling Green; Zachary Daugherty of Beaver Dam; Joseph Dunphy of Winchester, Tenn.; Joshua Gonzales of Louisville; Kody Hoadley of Elizabethtown; Jessica Howard of Henderson; Timathy Kloth of Delton, Mich.; Robert Legrand of Central City; Brittany Lepou of Ekron; Marquarious Moore of Elizabethtown; Ryan Ogden of Madison, Ala.; Steven Poland of Riverview, Fla.; Kevin Preston of Hazlet, N.J.; Brittany Rexing of Huntsville, Ala.; and Samuel Vessels of Elizabethtown. Graduate student Michael Terry of Bowling Green was recognized at Friday night’s graduate commencement ceremony.
Members of WKU’s Class of 2012 who have served in the military wore red, white and blue honor cords. All veterans and those serving in the military were recognized at each ceremony. “We proudly salute all of the students, faculty, staff and guests who have previously served or are currently serving in the armed forces,” Dr. Ransdell said.
At the morning ceremony, Dr. Ransdell noted that spring graduate Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Mangrum is serving on active duty with the U.S. Army at Ft. Gordon, Ga. Mangrum, who began his college education in 1983 and has served in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, is graduating with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in social and behavioral science.
In the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies Friday and Saturday, WKU awarded degrees and certificates to about 2,130 spring graduates. Approximately 500 additional students are expected to complete their degrees this summer. (More: Photos from the ceremonies are available on the WKU Facebook page.)
WKU conducted three undergraduate ceremonies Saturday – a morning ceremony for graduates of University College and College of Health and Human Services; an afternoon ceremony for graduates of Ogden College of Science and Engineering and College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; and an evening ceremony for graduates of Potter College of Arts & Letters and Gordon Ford College of Business.
In his remarks, Dr. Ransdell congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to put their education, talents and the WKU Spirit to good use. “Use your degree as your license to change for the better all in which you become engaged,” he said. “Where you were born and where you have lived to date is unimportant. It is what you will do with what you have done and where you have been that is important.
“You’ve started to plan your future, but don’t live there. Nothing happens in the future. Life happens now,” Dr. Ransdell said. “So work your plan and live your life where the action is.”
Commencement Weekend concludes 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 for students who earned most of their coursework at the regional campus locations.
Ogden Foundation Scholar
Amar Patel, a chemistry and science and math education major from Russellville, was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Scholar at the afternoon undergraduate ceremony. WKU’s top academic honor is presented to one graduating baccalaureate degree senior who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and outstanding university and civic engagement.
Patel, son of Ish and Sandra Patel, also was recognized as Scholar of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering and as Scholar of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
Patel is a WKU Honors College graduate, has served in leadership roles with the Chemistry Club, Alpha Epsilon Delta and SKyTeach Student Organization, and has participated in numerous civic engagement activities for campus and community organizations.
Patel also has been involved with a research project in organic, synthetic and material chemistry and has made presentations at WKU and regional conferences.
- Provost Gordon Emslie recognized the following faculty award winners, who will be formally honored at the fall faculty meeting: Susann Davis, Department of Modern Languages, excellence in teaching; Dr. T. Keith Philips, Department of Biology, excellence in research/creativity; Dr. Saundra Starks, Department of Social Work, excellence in public service; and Virginia Pfohl, Department of Psychology, excellence in student advising.
- Dr. Emslie also recognized the following faculty members who are retiring: Dr. Deborah Williams, School of Nursing; Greg Mills, Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences; Dr. Wanda Weidemann, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; Dr. Rick Aldridge, Department of Accounting; Dr. Paula Quinn, School of Journalism & Broadcasting; Dr. Richard Weigel, Department of History; and Dr. Karen Schneider, Department of English.
Scholars of the College awards
WKU recognized 27 Scholars of the College, who had the highest GPAs in their colleges while completing at least 60 credit hours at WKU.
- University College: Daniel T. Gifford of Bowling Green, a systems management major and son of Jerry and Tammie Gifford; Alexandria R. Kimura of Prospect, an interdisciplinary studies major and daughter of Zorre and Rebecca Kimura.
- College of Health and Human Services: Courtney N. Brown of Scottsville, a nursing major and daughter of Jim and Stephanie Brown; Lindsay J. Custer of Portland, Tenn., a nursing major, wife of Zach Custer and daughter of Richard and Gina Jones; Sara M. Glanz of Glasgow, a double major in hospitality management and dietetics and Spanish, also a Scholar of Potter College of Arts & Letters, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Robert and Mary Beth Glanz; Joseph C. Hanks of Lawrenceburg, an exercise science major and son of Robert and Jean Hanks.
- Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Andrew J. Austin of Utica, an advanced manufacturing major and son of Charles and Karen Austin; Christopher G. Burkeen of Bowling Green, a chemistry and biology major, am Honors College graduate and son of Phil and Trudy Burkeen; Spenser Claiborne of Scottsville, a double major in biology and science and math education, also a Scholar of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and son of Jimmy and Lisa Claiborne; Rebecca E. Crouch of Bedford, a double major in mathematics and economics, also a Scholar of the Gordon Ford College of Business, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Ron and Toni Crouch; Kathleen V. Ferry of Ashland, a double major in chemistry and biology, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Patrick and Carole Ferry; Elizabeth M. Malloy of Goode, Va., a biology major and daughter of John and Becky Malloy; Amar L. Patel of Russellville, a double major in chemistry and science and math education, also a Scholar of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, an Honors College graduate, and son of Ish and Sandra Patel; Jeremy P. Sites of Somerset, a chemistry major, an Honors College graduate, and son of Evelyn Sites; Laura B. Wathen of Bardstown, a double major in chemistry and biology, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Ben and LeeAnne Wathen; Chad B. Willis of Alvaton, a double major in biology and chemistry, an Honors College graduate, and son of Tony and Angela Willis.
- College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Amy M. Bishop of Louisville, a psychology major, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Mike and Mary Bishop; Whitney R. Fackler of Webster, an elementary education major and daughter of J.L. and Sherri Fackler; Jessica M. Mayfield of Louisville, an elementary education major and daughter of Nathan and Pam Mayfield; Kristen L. Schilling, a psychology major and daughter of Don and Julie Schilling; Lori B. Sexton of Hardyville, an elementary education major, wife of Joseph Sexton and daughter of Gary and Sandra Mattingly; Paige N. Winders of Elkton, an exceptional education major and daughter of Troy and Roma Winders.
- Gordon Ford College of Business: Kyle D. Fuller of Henderson, a double major in business economics and finance and son of Kim and Lisa Fuller; Nian Liu of Zhengzhou, China, an accounting major and daughter of Haikui and Sha Liu.
- Potter College of Arts & Letters: Katherine L. Ferriell of Pewee Valley, a double major in art history and Honors self-designed studies, also a Scholar of University College, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Howard and Lori Ferriell; Bethany L. Riggs of Upton, an English for secondary teachers major, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Marshall and Linda Riggs; Victoria R. Siegrist, a performing arts major, an Honors College graduate, and daughter of Dennis and Beverly Siegrist.
- Commencement Weekend began with the graduate ceremony Friday night as more than 500 doctoral, master’s and specialist’s degree recipients were recognized.
- Members of WKU’s Class of 1962, who are participating in the Golden Anniversary Club reunion this weekend, were recognized during Saturday morning’s ceremony.
- The undergraduate ceremonies included 34 international students from 12 countries. The flags of the United States and those nations were carried in the opening processional.
- English professor Mary Ellen Miller, a member of the WKU faculty for 49 years, led the grand march to open each ceremony.
- In addition to WKU ceremonies, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky recognized its fifth graduating class on Saturday afternoon.
Contact: Registrar’s Office, (270) 745-3351.