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Graduate ceremony begins WKU’s 177th Commencement

WKU’s 177th Commencement began Friday night (May 15) with the graduate ceremony as the University conferred more than 600 master’s, doctoral and specialist degrees and graduate certificates.

WKU President Gary Ransdell delivered remarks at the graduate ceremony May 15. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

WKU President Gary Ransdell delivered remarks at the graduate ceremony May 15. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

“Leave here ready to lead,” WKU President Gary Ransdell told the spring and summer graduates. “I can assure you that leadership matters. Trust your instincts. Laugh and embrace each day with a smile.”

Dr. Ransdell encouraged graduates to put their education and their talents to use serving their communities and their workplaces. “All of you must know that thoughtful planning, prudent action, hard work and human compassion will bring last success,” he said. “So commit yourself to these things. It is a competitive world, so set your resolve now to compete and fight for what you know is right and good.”

John D. Minton Award

Alyna Bloecher, a music master’s student from Bowling Green, received the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student and was named an outstanding graduate student in the Potter College of Arts & Letters. The award was presented by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., son of Dr. John D. Minton who was WKU’s first graduate dean and served as vice president for Administrative Affairs and as WKU’s fifth president.

Alyna Bloecher (right) received the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student. The award was presented by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

Alyna Bloecher (right) received the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student. The award was presented by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

“I was completely surprised and honored to have been chosen,” said Bloecher, the wife of Joshua Bloecher of Bowling Green and daughter of Judy Atkinson of Fairbanks, Alaska. “I greatly appreciate my professors who nominated me and I want to highlight that ultimately, all gratitude is owed to Jesus Christ, my Lord. He has worked all this together for His purposes and I am hopeful that I will use what I have gained to honor Him. It is truly only because of the investment and encouragement from the professors that He has put in my life that something like this was even possible. Specifically, I am most grateful to Dr. Ching-Yi Lin who has been my mentor for the past five years through an undergraduate degree and now also a master’s. She has consistently taken extra time out of her schedule to guide me and encourage me, for that I am very grateful.”

Bloecher, who received her bachelor’s degree in May 2013 from WKU, is a graduate of West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska; has collaborated with WKU faculty in chamber music recitals; and was featured as a soloist for the Symphony at WKU’s 2012 China Tour. As an instructor in the WKU Pre-College Strings Program, she teaches violin and viola to children ages 4 to 18 and she also arranges performances at nursing homes, churches, hospitals, and community events.

“Alyna Bloecher excels as both a violin scholar and a teacher, possessing the desire and motivation to continuously improve her craft through self-reflection, honest assessment and collaboration,” Chief Justice Minton said. “It is an honor to present the John D. Minton Award to her.”

Bloecher is the recipient of the 2015 American String Teachers Association George Bornoff Memorial Scholarship, the 2015 WKU “Hats off to Women” Graduate Student Award and the 2012-2013 Jim and Carolyn Fern Music Education Scholarship.

“During my time at WKU I have not only received great teaching but also many opportunities which enabled me to further my understanding of my degree area and gain valuable experience,” she said. “My professors were always happy to address my questions and give honest guidance. I know that their influence in my life and the opportunities made possible through attending WKU have enabled me to be the teacher and musician that I am now.”

In addition to Bloecher, other recipients of outstanding graduate student awards were:

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Catherine Denton of Newbern, Tennessee, Master of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education
  • College of Health and Human Services: Mackenzie Perkins of Hopkinsville, Master of Public Health
  • Gordon Ford College of Business: Dr. Rojita Sharma of Bowling Green, Master of Business Administration
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Tulsi Modi of Evansville, Indiana, Master of Science in Chemistry
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters: Virginia Siegel of Piqua, Ohio, Master of Arts in Folk Studies
  • University College: Elizabeth McGrew of Evansville, Indiana, Master of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities

Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates

Spring 2015 Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates were recognized: Jenna L. Boothe of Hazard, Persuasive Technology and Self-determined Motivation to Exercise: A Community Project in Rural Eastern Kentucky; Kimberly M. Britt of Bowling Green, Identifying Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening in South Central Kentucky; Carol W. Evans of Morgantown, Long Term Care Nurses’ Knowledge and Perceived Competency of Palliative Care; Victoria L. Kingrey of Glasgow, Breast Cancer in Men: Knowledge and Perception by Men within a Rural Region; Carole N. Mattingly of Henderson, Examining Faith Community Nurses’ Perception and Utilization of Electronic Health Records; Erica McWhorter-Hill of Albany, Improving Adherence and Technique with Metered Dose Inhalers in Individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Lora K. Moore of Cross Plains, Tennessee, Improving Evidence-based Practice Skills of Practicing Registered Nurses; Yolanda Y. Reid of Bowling Green, Barriers to Prostate Cancer Screening in African-American Men in South Central Kentucky; and Margaret D. Siewert of Robards, Preventing Childhood Obesity: The Implementation of the CATCH Program in a Preschool Population.

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program graduates

Spring 2015 graduates of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program were recognized: Brian Dunican of Bowling Green, Acceptance of Change: Exploring the Relationship Among Psychometric Constructs and Employee Resistance; Kimberly Green of Bowling Green, Assessment of Cultural Awareness in Communication Sciences and Disorders Students; Eric Gregory of Bowling Green, The Influence of Texting and Virtual Peers on Adolescent Alcohol Use; Ladonna Hunton of Rockfield, Money Changes Everything: The Relationship Between Financial Factors and Persistence for Financially Independent Undergraduate Students at a Kentucky Four-Year Public Institution; Eric Keeling of Alvaton, Career and Technical Education: The Impact Of Leadership On School Improvement and Student Achievement; Walter Malone III of Prospect, The Assessment of Organizational Culture and Servant Leadership within an African American Church: A Descriptive Study of Norms and Expectations; Shahbaz Munawar of Bowling Green, The influence of social interactions with American students on intercultural sensitivity of international students in higher education institutions; Chunling Niu of Bowling Green, A Quasi-experimental Study of the Impact of Teaching Intercultural Sensitivity on Foreign Language Learning Motivation; Kim Vickous of Bowling Green, Perceptions of Incivility in Nursing Education: A Survey of Associate and Baccalaureate Nursing Students; and Kevin Weaver of Tampa, Florida, An Exploration of Leadership Characteristics and Perceptions of Efficacy Among Coaches.

Graduate ceremony notes and photos

  • The graduate ceremony included 79 international students from 23 countries; an additional 38 international students from 19 countries will be recognized during Saturday’s undergraduate ceremonies.
  • Sociology Professor John Faine, a faculty member for 42 years, led the Commencement grand march.
  • Army ROTC cadet Augustine Amonge of Bondo, Kenya, was commissioned as a second lieutenant; 13 other cadets will be commissioned during Saturday’s undergraduate ceremonies. WKU recognized all veterans and those serving in the U.S. armed forces.
  • WKU also recognized graduates from its regional campuses in Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Glasgow and Owensboro.

Commencement events continue Saturday

The 177th Commencement continues Saturday with three undergraduate ceremonies as WKU confers about 2,000 baccalaureate and associate degrees and undergraduate certificates.

The 9:30 a.m. ceremony will include Gordon Ford College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services as well as recognition of members of the Class of 1965 who will be on campus for the Golden Anniversary Club Reunion; the 2 p.m. ceremony will include Ogden College of Science and Engineering and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; and the 6 p.m. ceremony will include Potter College of Arts & Letters and University College as well as recognition of the Ogden Foundation Scholar. WKU President Gary Ransdell will deliver remarks.

The undergraduate ceremonies will be broadcast live by WKU PBS and webcast live on WKU-PBS Ustream available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wku-pbs.

In addition to the WKU ceremonies Saturday, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky will recognize 61 students from 38 counties in the Class of 2015, its eighth graduating class. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at Van Meter Hall. Guest speaker will be state Rep. Jody Richards.

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

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