WKU wrapped up its 173rd Commencement with three undergraduate ceremonies Saturday at Diddle Arena.
WKU conferred 135 associate degrees, 1,475 baccalaureate degrees and 22 undergraduate certificates on Saturday. During the graduate ceremony on Friday night, WKU conferred 395 master’s degrees, six doctor of education degrees, six specialist degrees and 40 graduate certificates for a weekend total of 2,079.
In his remarks to the Class of 2013, President Gary Ransdell recalled his own graduation from WKU 40 years ago in 1973 and reflected on the lessons learned during a career journey that led him back to his alma mater 16 years ago.
“Commencement speeches are typically filled with advice for the new graduates, but suggestions and advice are fleeting,” Dr. Ransdell said. “Lots of individuals will want to give you advice about your profession and your relationships, and about how you spend your money and your leisure time. It is my hope, however, that your time at WKU helped you to cultivate the ability to think for yourselves. And I hope that we have built within you a deep self-confidence, that we have raised your personal self-esteem, and that we have honed your instincts.
“So here is my advice. When someone gives you advice, lay their ideas alongside your own thoughts and your own feelings, and if their suggestions jibe with your hopes and dreams, great, then follow their advice. But think for yourself, listen to your heart, tune into your innermost feelings, and trust your instincts.”
Dr. Ransdell encouraged graduates to set bold goals and dream big dreams. “Whatever you do after today – whether you plan to join the workforce, go to graduate school, travel the world, start a family or all of the above – listen to your heart as well as your head. It’s the best career counselor there is,” he said. “Our passions and inspirations drive us and give us a strong sense of purpose. And they are a great source of happiness in your life. Find things and people that you care about and invest in them with your heart, your soul and your body.”
WKU conducted three undergraduate ceremonies on Saturday – a morning ceremony for graduates of the Potter College of Arts & Letters and University College; an afternoon ceremony for graduates of the College of Health and Human Services and Gordon Ford College of Business; and an evening ceremony for graduates of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and Ogden College of Science and Engineering. Each graduate received a WKU Class of 2013 red towel to wave at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Ogden Foundation Scholar
Daniel Burton, a management major from Shepherdsville, 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. (Read more about the Ogden Scholar on the WKU News page at http://wp.me/pi4mf-5uA) Burton, son of Daniel Burton and Robin Keene, also was recognized as a scholar of the Gordon Ford College of Business.
Eleven Hilltopper Army ROTC cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants — Rachelle Boucher of Tampa, Fla.; Aaron Adams of Bowling Green; Albert Dias of Clarksville, Tenn.; Elizabeth Drance of Aberdeen, N.C.; Matthew Govan of Castalian Springs, Tenn.; Alan Johnson of Clarksville, Tenn.; Joshua King of Elizabethtown; Charice Lee of Ekron; Andy Roebuck of Scottsville; Sequoia Sims of Elizabethtown; Jarad Williams of Harned.
Members of WKU’s Class of 2013 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.
Provost Gordon Emslie recognized the following faculty award winners, who will be formally honored at the fall convocation: Dr. Andrew Wulff, Department of Geography and Geology, excellence in teaching; Lindsay Oesterritter, Department of Art, excellence in research/creativity; Dr. Nancy Rice, Department of Biology, excellence in public service; and Dr. Fred Gibson, Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport, excellence in student advising.
Dr. Emslie also recognized the following faculty members who are retiring: Dr. Mitzi Groom, Department of Music; Eileen Arnold, Department of Social Work; Wayne Mason, Department of Biology.
Scholars of the College awards
WKU recognized 40 Scholars of the College, who had the highest GPAs in their colleges while completing at least 60 credit hours at WKU.
Potter College of Arts & Letters: Holly D. Berger of Bowling Green, a theatre major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Jim and Arlene Berger; Erica M. Cassady of Smiths Grove, an English for Secondary Teachers major, wife of Craig Cassady and daughter of Mark and Theresa Ashley; Shawna F. Felkins of Glasgow, an English major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Greg and Rita Felkins; Ameliah E. Given of Bowling Green, an English for Secondary Teachers major, Honors College graduate and daughter of William and Beth Given; Laura A. Johnson of Bowling Green, an advertising major and daughter of Daryl and Judy Johnson; Meghan E. Kennedy of Shelbyville, an English major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Robert and Carissa Kennedy; David J. Leonhardt of Bowling Green, a religious studies and communications studies major, Honors College graduate and son of Mark and Charna Leonhardt; Samantha L. McMahan of Westport, an English for Secondary Teachers major, Honors College graduate and daughter of William and Candace McMahan; Mason H. Proffitt of Bowling Green, a political science major and son of Darrick and Stacy Proffitt; Samara L. Skinner of Columbia, an English major and daughter of Aleina Milligan and Len Skinner; Lauren A. White of Willisburg, an English for Secondary Teachers major and daughter of David and Donna White; Betty Jane Williamson of Hawesville, a sociology major and daughter of Jeff and Lisha Williamson.
University College: Linda K. Barrett of Grays Knob, an interdisciplinary studies major and wife of the late James Barrett and mother of Jamie and Jeff Barrett.
College of Health and Human Services: Christina M. Barth of Covington, a communication disorders major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Patrick and Carol Barth; Rachelle E. Brosnan of Morgantown, a communications disorders major, Honors College graduate, wife of PFC Danny Brosnan and daughter of Chris and Lisa Vaught; Ashley R. Burden of Princeton, a dental hygiene major and daughter of Bill and Donna Burden; Jan R. Clausen of Hendersonville, Tenn., a hospitality management and dietetics major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Don Clausen and Jill Steier; Meredith M. Coleman of Lexington, a communication disorders major and daughter of Tony and Julie Coleman; Cassandra J. Ernstes of Petersburg, a nursing major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Michael and Jenna Ernstes; Taylor W. Fleming of Bowling Green, a communication disorders major and daughter of Bill and Jodi Fleming and stepdaughter of Patricia Fleming; Audrey T. Kaelin of Owensboro, a hospitality management and dietetics major and daughter of Marty and Patty Kaelin; Ethan J. Mattingly of Payneville, a hospitality management and dietetics major and son of Glenn and Teresa Mattingly; Michael Ben Nelson of Elizabethtown, an exercise science major and son of Mike and Katie Nelson; Emily C. Smith of Bowling Green, a communication disorders major and daughter of Kevin and Beth Smith; Lauren A. Snider of Louisville, an exercise science major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Kevin and Julie Snider.
Gordon Ford College of Business: Daniel R. Burton of Shepherdsville, a management major and son of Daniel Burton and Robin Keene; Gregory D. Foster of Bowling Green, a business economics major and son of Stuart and Jo Ann Foster.
Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Brett A. Austin of Bowling Green, a biology and chemistry major, Honors College graduate and son of Mark and Lee Ann Austin; Celia R. Baker of Louisville, a biology and chemistry major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Timothy and Maria Baker; Taylor M. Dail of Paris, a biology major and daughter of Grant and Tammy Dail; Katie DiTommaso of Fort Wright, a chemistry major and daughter of Darin and Tina DiTommaso; Molly A. Gibson of Henderson, a middle grades mathematics and science and math education major (also a scholar of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences) and daughter of Bill and Carol Gibson; Cody A. Mahan of Seymour, Tenn., an electrical engineering major and son of Paul and Lisa Mahan.
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Alicia DiTommaso of Fort Wright, an elementary education major and daughter of Darin and Tina DiTommaso; Nichole C. Dwyer of Mount Carmel, Ill., an elementary education major, Honors College graduate, wife of Patrick Dwyer and daughter of Brett and Shari Berger; Kara G. Freeman of London, an elementary education major, wife of Lance Michael Freeman and daughter of Lonnie and Paul Marcum; Kali A. Lyons of Glasgow, an elementary education major and daughter of David and Sandy Lyons; Lauren B. Rogers of Portland, Tenn., an elementary education major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Kevin and Christy Rogers; Alison E. Stahlke of Naperville, Ill., an elementary education major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Brad and Karen Stahlke; Molly C. White, a psychology major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Joe and Karen White.
*Members of WKU’s Class of 1963, who participated in the Golden Anniversary Club reunion this weekend, were recognized during Saturday morning’s ceremony.
*The undergraduate ceremonies included 20 international students from nine 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 50 years, led the grand march to open each ceremony.
*The ceremonies included 74 WKU student-athletes.
*In addition to WKU ceremonies, the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky recognized 69 students in its sixth graduating class on Saturday afternoon.
Contact: Registrar’s Office, (270) 745-3351.