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WKU confers degrees, recognizes top students at 178th Commencement

The Class of 2015 waved red towels at the conclusion of WKU's 178th Commencement on Dec. 12. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

The Class of 2015 waved red towels at the conclusion of WKU’s 178th Commencement on Dec. 12. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

WKU conferred degrees to more than 1,400 graduates and recognized its top students during its Fall 2015 Commencement on Saturday (Dec. 12) at Diddle Arena.

In morning and afternoon ceremonies of its 178th Commencement, WKU conferred degrees and certificates to 1,425 graduates — 65 associate, 981 bachelor’s, 339 master’s, 14 doctoral and 27 certificates.

The morning ceremony included graduate and undergraduate degree candidates in the College of Health and Human Services, Gordon Ford College of Business and University College. The afternoon ceremony included graduate and undergraduate degree candidates in the Potter College of Arts & Letters, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

Scenes from WKU's 178th Commencement on Dec. 12.

WKU President Gary Ransdell delivered remarks at both ceremonies. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU President Gary Ransdell reminded members of the Class of 2015 that commencement isn’t the end of their education. “Your degree is not simply to show the world what you know, but rather to show that you have been educated on how to continue learning. That learning process will be with you forever,” Dr. Ransdell said. “As you leave this beloved Hill, know that leadership matters. It absolutely matters and it is at the core of the WKU Spirit. Do not let anything deter you from exercising the WKU Spirit. It is rare and to be treasured.

“We need a new generation of innovators, risk takers, entrepreneurs and change agents. And I know that we have prepared you well to assume these leadership roles. By your success, you will each add value to WKU’s name and but more importantly to your own name.”

Ogden Foundation Scholar

Jessica Brumley, a Literature and English for Secondary Education major from Lawrenceburg, was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Scholar, WKU’s top academic honor. Brumley is an Honors College graduate and a four-year student in the Chinese Flagship Program.

Jessica Brumley was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Scholar at WKU's 178th Commencement on Dec. 12. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Jessica Brumley was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Scholar at WKU’s 178th Commencement on Dec. 12. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The Ogden Scholar award is presented to one graduating baccalaureate degree senior who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and outstanding university and civic engagement.

As her Honors undergraduate thesis, “The Cultural Classroom Instructional Handbook,” Brumley completed an English/Chinese retranslation of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”

During her four years at WKU, Brumley has completed study abroad trips to China, Taiwan and Cuba and she spent the final month of the fall semester student teaching in Baoding, China. (More: Brumley uses passion for language to create global education experience.)

Brumley’s numerous awards include a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, WKU Presidential Scholarship, Sigma Tau Delta Study Abroad Scholarship, FUSE grant and Ministry of Education Huayu Mandarin Language Enrichment Scholarship. She also has tutored and mentored elementary and high school students as well as WKU students and has been a member of several campus organizations and clubs.

Brumley, the daughter of John and Juliah Brumley, also was recognized as a Scholar of the Potter College of Arts & Letters.

Scholars of the College

WKU recognized 12 other Scholars of the College, who had the highest GPAs in their colleges while completing at least 60 credit hours at WKU.

  • College of Health and Human Services: Nina Wells of Bowling Green, a Social Work major and Honors College graduate.
  • Gordon Ford College of Business: Tyler McCulloch of Clay, an Accounting major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Steve and Tabitha McCulloch.
  • University College: Shelley Owens of Bowling Green, an Interdisciplinary Studies major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Marc and Melanie Owens.
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters: Hannah Garland of Somerset, an International Affairs and Asian Religions and Cultures major who received concurrent degrees, an Honors College graduate and daughter of Mike and Leisha Garland; Emily Potts of Owensboro, a History, Anthropology and Religious Studies major who received three degrees, an Honors College graduate and daughter of Mark and Terri Potts; Amber Thompson of Bowling Green, an English for Secondary Teachers and Spanish major who received concurrent degrees, an Honors College graduate and daughter of Lowell and Connie Thompson; Jessica Abigail Zibart of Auburn, an Anthropology major and daughter of Philip and Judy Zibart.
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Andrea Dunnaway of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, an Architectural Science major, wife of Andrew Dunnaway and daughter of Kim Baker; Sidney Greene of Eddyville, a Biology major and daughter of Shannon and Lana Greene; Mandi Martin of Sellersburg, Indiana, a Psychological Sciences major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Kimberly Rosado and Gregory Martin.
  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Meghan Althauser of Richmond, an Elementary Education major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Scott and Krista Althauser; Elizabeth Sorrels of Cromwell, an Elementary Education major, wife of Quinton Sorrels and daughter of John and Nancy Cox.
Scenes from WKU's 178th Commencement on Dec. 12.

ROTC graduates were commissioned. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

ROTC commissioning

Five Army ROTC cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants — Angela Bachman of San Diego, California; Ausdin Pender of Louisville; Dewayne Cox of Bowling Green; Curtis Longoira of Georgetown, Texas; and Creste Jean of Bowling Green.

WKU also recognized all veterans and those serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Doctoral graduates

Graduates of WKU’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership were recognized at the afternoon ceremony.

Fall 2015 graduates of WKU's Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership included Corie Martin. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Fall 2015 graduates of WKU’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership included Corie Martin. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

December graduates (and their dissertation titles) are: Caroline Lovie Atkins of Murray, The Branch Campus Contribution to the Mission of the Main Campus in Kentucky; Geralyn Caplan of Evansville, Indiana, A Comparative Analysis of Student Achievement and Retention in Traditional and Online First Semester Anatomy and Physiology Courses; Cindy L. Clemson of Murray, The Effect of a Student Success Seminar on Student Retention at a Regional University; Nicole R. Cobb of Louisville, Overcoming Barriers to Admission in a Community College; Alma Kay Combs of Georgetown, The Factors Affecting the Retention of Adult Basic Education Teachers in Kentucky; Stacey A. Forsythe of Bowling Green, The Impact of a Head Coaching Change on Intercollegiate Student-Athletes; Alicia Cohea Golston of Bowling Green, A Descriptive Study of the Formation and Structure of Behavioral Intervention Teams at Colleges and Universities; Lynda Cartwright-Harrison of Bowling Green, Kentucky Middle School General Education Teachers: Perceptions on Sensory Integration of Students on the Autism Spectrum; Greta Greenwade Jones of Hopkinsville, Ethical Decision Making: The Lived Experiences of African American Women Leaders in Western Kentucky; Corie M. Martin of Woodbury, Social Media Engagement and Collegiate Recruitment: An Examination of the Use of Social Networks in the College Recruitment and Student Choice Processes; Millie McIntosh of Bowling Green, An Analysis of the Financial Impact of Certified and Classified Employee Absenteeism Rates at a Mid-South Kentucky School District; Nadine Joy Menser of Madisonville, The Perfect Formula: Benchmarks That Best Predict Retention in Selective Admission Programs; Martha Jane Sales of Bowling Green, An Examination of Workplace Factors Associated with Job Satisfaction of Generation Y University Professional Staff; Dawn M. Winters of Bowling Green, Success and the Other(ed) Woman: Examining the Persistence of Female Students from Saudi Arabia. (More: Read more about the Fall 2015 Educational Leadership Doctoral Recipients)

Faculty recognition

Provost David Lee recognized the first recipients of the Faculty Mentoring Award: Dr. Lauren Bland, College of Health and Human Services; Dr. Marge Maxwell, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Dr. David LeNoir, Potter College of Arts & Letters; and Dr. Paula Potter, Gordon Ford College of Business.

Dr. Lee also recognized Dr. William Pfohl, Department of Psychology, who is retiring.

Commencement notes

 Sociology Professor John Faine led the grand march to open the ceremonies. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

Sociology Professor John Faine led the grand march to open the ceremonies. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

  • The ceremonies included 64 international students from 21 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.
  • Sociology Professor John Faine, a WKU faculty member for 42 years, led the grand march to open the ceremonies.
  • WKU recognized members of the Class of 2015 from regional campuses in Glasgow, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox and Owensboro.
  • The Class of 2015 included 32 current and former WKU student-athletes who had an average cumulative GPA of 2.88.
  • #WKUGrad social media posts are available at http://www.wku.edu/wkugrad/
  • Check out a special WKU Week in Photos and the 2015 in Review video

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

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