WKU conferred degrees and certificates to more than 1,370 graduates Saturday at its 180th Commencement.
During morning and afternoon ceremonies at Diddle Arena, WKU awarded 75 associate, 925 bachelor’s, 307 master’s, 13 doctoral and three specialist degrees and 19 undergraduate certificates and 30 graduate certificates for a total of 1,372.
WKU President Gary A. Ransdell encouraged the members of the Class of 2016 to live their lives from the perspective of truth. “Try your best to be fair, honest and accurate in your life, no matter what you do professionally or socially,” he said. “You can have things handed to you, although most of you will not be so fortunate.
“Most of you will have to earn your success. All of you must know that thoughtful planning, prudent action, hard work and human compassion is what will bring lasting success in your life. So commit yourself to these things. It is a competitive world in which we live, so set your resolve now to compete and fight for what you know is right and good,” Dr. Ransdell said. “As you persevere through life, overcome obstacles and build relationships, I encourage you to build a global mind but keep a Kentucky heart.”
Austin Hatfield, who was recognized as the Ogden Foundation Scholar, also encouraged his fellow graduates to be “ready and willing to accept life’s challenge to live among one another striving to do what is right.”
Hatfield, a Political Science major and Religious Studies minor from Bowling Green, received WKU’s top academic honor, which is presented to one graduating baccalaureate degree senior who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and outstanding university and civic engagement.
“Today we end our formal education but I stand before you today and say let it not be the end of your education but rather the beginning. The beginning of a journey of lifelong learning,” Hatfield said. “During our time in higher education we have not only learned what is necessary for our degrees but we have learned how to live.”
Hatfield, the son of Donna and John Hatfield, is a 2012 graduate of Greenwood High School and a 2014 graduate of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. His wife, Lara, also is a WKU student.
Hatfield also was recognized as a scholar of Potter College of Arts & Letters. More: View from the Hill segment on the Ogden Scholar recipient.
The morning 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. The afternoon ceremony included graduate and undergraduate degree candidates in the Gordon Ford College of Business, College of Health and Human Services and University College.
Scholars of the College
WKU recognized nine other Scholars of the College, who had the highest GPAs in their colleges while completing at least 60 credit hours at WKU.
- College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Rachel Quinn of Paris, an Elementary Education major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Tracy and Michael Quinn.
- Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Lisa Shakachite of Nashville, Tennessee, a Biology major and daughter of Adnelly and Obote Shakachite.
- Potter College of Arts & Letters: Emma Shoaf of Lexington, an International Affairs and Spanish major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Cameron and Frank Shoaf.
- College of Health and Human Services: Sarah Hicks of Bardstown, an Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising major and daughter of Denise and Jamie Hicks; Casey Millhof of Henderson, an Exercise Science major and daughter of Cathy and Rod Millhof and fiancé of Levi Davis.
- Gordon Ford College of Business: Haley Burgin of Lawrenceburg, a Finance and Economics major and daughter of Amanda and Kevin Burgin; Annalise Maillet of Bowling Green, an Economics major, Honors College graduate and daughter of Heather and Tom Maillet; Zane Ramey of Lexington, an Accounting major and son of Shirla and Greg Ramey and fiancé of Melissa Boyle.
- University College: Cassidy Johnson of Clarksville, Tennessee, an Interdisciplinary Studies major and daughter of Jill Marie and James Donald Johnson III.
Educational Leadership Doctoral Program graduates
Ten graduates of WKU’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership were recognized at the morning ceremony. They are (name, hometown, dissertation title): Jennifer Antoniotti-Neal of Albany, A Qualitative Inquiry into a Teacher’s Metacognitive Processes as the Influence Reading Instruction; Slone H. Cansler of Hopkinsville, Birth of a Powerhouse: How one university reimagined, restructured and revived outreach; April Craft of Burkesville, Examining Teacher Practices Related to Student-to-Student Discourse in the Middle School Classroom; Scott Gordon of Bowling Green, Graduate Student Retention: An Examination of Factors Affecting Persistence Among Master’s Program Students at Comprehensive Public Institutions; David Kerr of Bowling Green, A Leading American University with International Reach: Internationalization at Western Kentucky University; Jeremy Logsdon of Munfordville, A Study of the Academic and Personal Impacts of a Literacy Intervention Course: Stories from Stakeholders; Karen Hobgood Mackey of Sebree, The Relationships Among Instructional Leadership, School Culture, and Student Achievement in Kentucky Elementary Schools; Denise Perdue of Bowling Green, Community Literacy, Community College, and Community Leadership in the Rural South: A Tenuous Triangle; Christian Ryan of Franklin, Disruptive Leadership: A Grounded Theory Study of How Three Kentucky Women are Leading Change; Derick B. Strode of Bowling Green, Gatton Academy Study Abroad Program Effects on Perceptions of Community Belongingness and Personal Growth and Development.
Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates
Three graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice were recognized at the afternoon ceremony. They are (name, residence/hometown, dissertation title): Lori J. Alexander of Caneyville/Brownsville, General Nutrition Knowledge and Perceived Stress in a Rural Female Faith Community; Stacy A. Logsdon of Bowling Green/Munfordville, Perceived Health Status in Rural Manufacturing Workers; and Lisa D. Surovick of Sterling Heights, Michigan, Motivation and Intention for Lifestyle Modifications in Adults with Cardiac Risk Factors.
Six Army ROTC cadets were commissioned as second lieutenants. They are (name, hometown, first duty assignment): Taylor Hansen of Lombard, Illinois, assigned to National Guard Armory in Glasgow; Jeremy Jones of Elizabethtown, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; Madeline Boyd of Owensboro, assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Jacob Marsh of Cynthiana, assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia; Kelsey McArthur of St. Charles, Missouri, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; and Shane Weddle of Somerset, assigned to Texas Army National Guard in Houston, Texas. WKU also recognized all veterans and those serving in the military.
- The fall 2016 graduates included 105 international students from 25 countries. WKU also recognized graduates who had participated in study abroad experiences.
- English Professor Walker Rutledge, a faculty member for 47 years, served as chief marshal of the grand march.
- WKU also recognized graduates from its regional campuses in Glasgow, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox and Owensboro.
- Each graduate was given a Class of 2016 WKU red towel to wave at the end of the ceremony.
- More photos: Additional photos from the ceremonies are available on the WKU Facebook page.
- Social media: For social media posts about Commencement, follow #WKUGrad or visit http://www.wku.edu/wkugrad/
Contact: Registrar, (270) 745-3351