Commencement concludes, graduates focus on future

Lexington alum Dorothy Edwards reacts as the crowd cheers for her because she is the last graduate to receive their diploma during the commencement ceremony for WKU’s University College and Potter College of Arts and Letters Saturday May 16, 2015, at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.


Students entered the arena, dressed in their caps and gowns, as their families and friends cheered.

Finally, it was the moment students dreamed of since their first year at WKU. WKU’s 177th Commencement ceremonies concluded Saturday evening in E.A Diddle Arena.

Ceremonies began Friday, May 15, to confer degrees to graduate students. Three ceremonies were held Saturday to celebrate undergraduates in the spring and summer class of 2015.

According to WKU News, 2,620 students graduated.  WKU awarded 1,825 baccalaureate degrees, 111 associate degrees and 68 undergraduate certificates.

Former Student Government Association president now WKU alumna Nicki Taylor reflected on her WKU experience during the ceremony.

“There’s just something about being at the end of this crazy college journey that makes me look back on where all we’ve been,” Taylor said.

At the beginning of the commencement ceremony, President Gary Ransdell asked members of the audience to stand. Parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, spouses and friends rose to recognize the students’ achievements.

“Twenty minutes in and you’ve already gotten a standing ovation,” Ransdell said with a laugh.

Ransdell also recognized students who attended any of the WKU regional campuses, single parent students, first generation students, individuals who served or are serving in the military, international students, students who studied abroad and several other students and faculty members.

There were also 14 students from the Army ROTC who were commissioned as second lieutenants over the course of the day.

In the middle of the ceremony, an image appeared on the dual video screens that commemorated the class of 2015’s first ever class picture, which was taken at the 2011 MASTER Plan on the L.T. Smith Stadium football field.

Additionally, a video played that reflected back on the 2014-2015 school year.

During his commencement speech, Ransdell gave the graduates advice for the future.

“All of you must know that thoughtful planning, prudent action, hard work and human compassion will bring lasting success,” Ransdell said. “Set your resolve now to compete and fight for what you know is right and good.”

Prior to handing out the ceremonial diplomas, Ransdell encouraged students to take control of their own destinies and futures.

“Part of your commencement is that you must now commence your life as alumni of this institution,” he said.

At the conclusion of the commencement ceremony, after moving their tassels to the left side of their caps, the graduates stood and waved their red towels in celebration.

Marie Brindle, who graduated with a degree in criminology, said she is excited about what the future holds.

“It’s a whole new world out there,” she said.