Graduates’ effort celebrated at fall commencement for class of 2016

Emma Collins

Students and their friends and families gathered in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, December 10, for WKU’s 180th commencement.

The ceremony began early Saturday morning and concluded Saturday night. Throughout the day, 1,400 students from all six of WKU’s colleges officially became alumni of WKU. Included in the group were 105 international students from 25 countries as well as a number of first-generation college students and students who studied for their degrees while raising children.

President Gary Ransdell began the commencement ceremony with a moment of silence for those faculty, staff and students lost during the year. He then welcomed those gathered in the stadium and congratulated both the students and those who have supported them throughout their journey towards graduation.

Randsdell also welcomed those who watched the ceremony live through streaming provided by WKU Public Broadcasting. He said those watching the ceremony included both national and international individuals.

He also acknowledged the WKU community and its achievements, particularly for its international reach.

“Commencement provides a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our WKU community but especially our graduates,” Ransdell said.

Student Government Association President Jay Todd Richey, of Glasgow, also spoke to the crowd and praised the graduates for their accomplishments as students.

“Needless to say, this is one of the greatest achievements of your life,” Richey said.

Graduates received their diplomas from Ransdell and Frederick Higdon, chair of the Board of Regents. As they walked in front of the crowd, family and friends cheered, ignoring the earlier request for silence.

At the end of the ceremony, the graduates processed out of the arena as new WKU alumni.

“A common saying here is, ‘The spirit makes the master,'” Richey said. “Today, as you start the next chapter of your life, consider how WKU has made you.”