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177th Commencement concludes with 3 undergraduate ceremonies

WKU's Class of 2015 celebrated during Commencement ceremonies on May 16 at Diddle Arena. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU’s Class of 2015 celebrated during Commencement ceremonies on May 16 at Diddle Arena. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU’s 177th Commencement wrapped up Saturday (May 16) with three undergraduate ceremonies at Diddle Arena.

During morning, afternoon and evening ceremonies, WKU conferred 1,825 baccalaureate degrees, 111 associate degrees and 68 undergraduate certificates. At Friday night’s graduate ceremony, WKU conferred 538 master’s, 12 doctor of education, 11 doctor of nursing practice and six specialist in education degrees and 49 graduate certificates for a weekend total of 2,620 spring and summer graduates.

WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated members of the Class of 2015. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated members of the Class of 2015. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

WKU President Gary Ransdell encouraged members of the Class of 2015 to be bold as they leave the Hill to join the workforce, enter graduate school, travel the world or start a family.

“Envision yourself living a life that you love,” Dr. Ransdell said. “Begin moving toward the sort of life you wish to live with thoughtful decisions and deeds. Remember the words of our founder, Dr. H.H. Cherry, ‘Behind the deed, the doer; behind the doer, the dream.’ Today you realize one of those dreams. But as your dreams play out, be flexible. Some of the best opportunities and relationships in life come as surprises so embrace them.”

The morning ceremony included graduates of the Gordon Ford College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services; the afternoon ceremony included graduates of Ogden College of Science and Engineering and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; and the evening ceremony included graduates of Potter College of Arts & Letters and University College. Each graduate received a Class of 2015 red towel to wave at the conclusion of the ceremony. (More: Photos from the ceremonies are available on the WKU Facebook page.)

Ogden Foundation Scholar

Sarah Fox, a music and history major and Honors College graduate from Russellville, was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Scholar, WKU’s top graduation award. She also was recognized as a Scholar of the Potter College of Arts & Letters. (More: Listing of other Scholars of the College.)

Fox, the daughter of Susan Fox and Brian Fox, has received a scholarship from the U.S. Fulbright Student Program and will begin her master’s degree in music, choral conducting pathway, this fall at the University of Birmingham in England. She also will serve an intensive internship with Dr. Simon Halsey, director of the London Symphony Chorus and Berlin Radio Choir.

“It is at WKU that I have discovered my capacity to help others because others have helped me,” Fox said in her application for the Ogden award. “My professors and teachers have invested in me and I want to return that investment in the students I teach around the world. Most importantly, I will strive to continue the cycle of serving I learned through experience at WKU.”

ROTC commissioning

The WKU ROTC program commissioned 14 cadets as second lieutenants during the weekend ceremonies. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The WKU ROTC program commissioned 14 cadets as second lieutenants during the weekend ceremonies. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Fourteen Army ROTC cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants during the weekend ceremonies: Augustine Amonge of Bondo, Kenya; Joshua Bachman of Scottsdale, Arizona; Dillon Beckner of Bowling Green; Eric Cunningham of Nashville, Tennessee; Austin Drexler of Bowling Green; Roland Haun of Hodgenville; Douglas Kaiser of Covington; Kyle McKinley of Bonnieville; Joseph Pillow of Bowling Green; William Robertson of Goodlettsville, Tennessee; Jacob Sampson of Rolesville, North Carolina; Austen Schuknecht of Madisonville; Scott Shelton of Scottsville; Derek Tyler of Central City. WKU also recognized all veterans and those serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Faculty awards

Provost Gordon Emslie recognized the following faculty award winners, who will be formally honored at the fall convocation: Dr. Alison Langdon, Department of English, excellence in teaching; Yvonne Petkus, Department of Art, excellence in research/creativity; Dr. Eve Main, School of Nursing, excellence in public service; and Dr. Martha Day, School of Teacher Education, excellence in student advising.

Dr. Emslie also recognized the following faculty members who are retiring: Debbie Parsley, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Dr. Richard Patterson, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; Janelle Peeler, Department of Social Work; Dr. Gary Villereal, Department of Social Work; Dr. Marty Boman, School of Teacher Education; Dr. Dan Myers, Department of Economics; Jo-Anne Ryan, School of Journalism & Broadcasting; Dr. Carl Kell, Department of Communication; and Dr. Larry Caillouet, Department of Communication.

International reach

  • The undergraduate ceremonies included 38 international students from 19 countries. Friday night’s graduate ceremony included 79 international students from 23 countries. The flags of the United States and those nations were carried in the opening processionals.
  • WKU also recognized members of the Class of 2015 who had studied abroad. This year, 595 WKU students studied abroad in 50 countries.

Commencement notes

  • Sociology Professor John Faine, a WKU faculty member for 42 years, led the grand march to open morning and afternoon ceremonies; History Professor Carol Crowe Carraco, a WKU faculty member for 45 years, led the grand march to open the evening ceremony.
  • WKU also recognized members of the Class of 2015 from regional campuses in Glasgow, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox and Owensboro.
  • Members of the Class of 1965 who were on campus for the Golden Anniversary Club Reunion were recognized at the morning ceremony.
  • The weekend ceremonies included 79 WKU student-athletes who had an average cumulative GPA of 3.18.
  • In addition to WKU ceremonies, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky recognized 61 students in its eighth graduating class.

Regional campus ceremonies

  • WKU Elizabethtown-Fort Knox will host a commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday (May 18) at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School, 384 W.A. Jenkins Road, Elizabethtown. Student speaker will be May graduate Jeffery Gerstenkorn, a native of Great Bend, Kansas, who served in the U.S. Army for 20 years before retiring in 2003.
  • WKU Owensboro will host a commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Monday (May 18) at the RiverPark Center, 101 Daviess St., Owensboro. Guest speaker will be WKU Provost Gordon Emslie.

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

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