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Graduate ceremony begins WKU’s 179th Commencement

WKU’s 179th Commencement began Friday night (May 13) with the Graduate School ceremony that included the presentation of the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student and the recognition of graduates from three doctoral programs, including the inaugural class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy.

WKU's 179th Commencement began May 13 with the graduate ceremony at Diddle Arena. Three undergraduate ceremonies will be held May 14. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU’s 179th Commencement began May 13 with the graduate ceremony at Diddle Arena. Three undergraduate ceremonies will be held May 14. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The 724 spring and summer graduates included recipients of 30 doctor of physical therapy, six doctor of education, seven doctor of nursing practice, 614 master’s and nine specialist in education degrees and 58 graduate certificates. More: List of doctoral graduates; Commencement Program

WKU President Gary Ransdell encouraged the graduates to put their education and talents to good use. “Regardless of your life’s work, my hope is that all of you will use your talents and passions to help build outstanding local communities and workplaces,” he said during the ceremony at Diddle Arena. “Our passions and inspirations drive us and give us a strong sense of purpose. And they are a great source of our happiness. Lead by example and use the WKU motto ‘The Spirit Makes the Master’ as a guiding principle in your life.”

Commencement continues Saturday with three undergraduate ceremonies.

John D. Minton Award

Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. presented Chase LaDue with the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. presented Chase LaDue with the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Chase LaDue, a biology student from Lewisville, Texas, received the prestigious Minton Award. 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.

LaDue has conducted research on elephants at 15 zoological facilities, presented research at the 2015 annual Elephant Managers Association, has been invited to speak at four zoological facilities, received a graduate student research fellowship and the Dillard/Hoyt Scholarship for outstanding first-year biology graduate students, and has served as a graduate teaching assistant for three biology courses. LaDue, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Canisius College, has been accepted into the doctoral program at George Mason University to continue his work with elephants.

“We wish him well as he looks forward to a career in research, elephant conservation and education,” Chief Justice Minton said. “It is an honor to present to John D. Minton Award to Chase LaDue.”

Outstanding graduate students

WKU also recognized the following six students as the outstanding graduate student within each academic college:

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Amanda Lipp of Louisville, Specialist in Education, School Psychology.
  • College of Health and Human Services: Jamye Hardy of Nashville, Tennessee, Master of Social Work.
  • Gordon Ford College of Business: Dr. Craig Beard of Bowling Green, Master of Business Administration.
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Matthew Buchholz of Grafton, Wisconsin, Master of Science in Biology.
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters: Svetlana Ter-Grigoryan of Bowling Green, Master of Arts in History.
  • University College: Josh Corlew of Nashville, Tennessee, Master of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

ROTC commissioning

The WKU ROTC program commissioned two cadets. Desean Hughes of Bowling Green was commissioned as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and will be assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Meghan Witten of Louisville was commissioned as a nurse in the U.S. Air Force and will be assigned to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Six more cadets will be commissioned during Saturday’s undergraduate ceremonies. WKU also recognized all veterans and those serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Commencement notes

  • WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated the Class of 2016. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

    WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated the Class of 2016. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

    Friday night’s ceremony included 93 international students from 18 countries; an additional 96 students from 21 countries will be recognized during Saturday’s ceremonies.

  • WKU recognized graduates from its three regional campuses in Elizabethtown/Fort Knox, Glasgow and Owensboro.
  • Sociology Professor John Faine, a faculty member for 43 years, served as chief marshal.
  • The graduates included Darlene Barber of Lexington, who received her master’s in Organizational Leadership. Her twins will graduate from WKU on Saturday. Briana Barber will receive a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Broadcasting during the 2 p.m. ceremony, while Brandon Barber will receive a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising during the 6 p.m. ceremony. (See more about the Barber family on Instagram)
  • Eight WKU student-athletes received their master’s degrees while two others received their doctoral degrees in physical therapy.
  • For social media posts about Commencement, follow #WKUGrad or visit http://www.wku.edu/wkugrad/

Commencement Weekend continues

WKU’s Commencement Weekend continues Saturday (May 14) with three undergraduate ceremonies and the Gatton Academy graduation.

During three undergraduate ceremonies at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., WKU will confer 1,714 bachelor’s degrees, 82 associate degrees and 44 undergraduate certificates and will present honorary doctorates to Dr. C. June Maker, a 1970 WKU graduate known for her contributions to gifted education, and John Kelly, founding member of the Kelly Autism Program. (More: Preview of WKU’s 179th Commencement)

The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky will recognize 58 students from 38 counties in the Class of 2016, its ninth graduating class. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Van Meter Hall. Guest speaker will be Dr. C. June Maker.

The WKU Alumni Association will host a Commencement Celebration from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Augenstein Alumni Center.

On Monday (May 16), WKU regional campuses in Owensboro and Elizabethtown/Fort Knox will host commencement ceremonies. The WKU Owensboro ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the RiverPark Center, 101 Daviess St., Owensboro. The WKU Elizabethtown/Fort Knox ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time) at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center, 384 W. Jenkins Road, Elizabethtown.

For social media posts about Commencement, follow #WKUGrad or visit http://www.wku.edu/wkugrad/

Contact: Registrar, (270) 745-3351

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