WKU graduates pursue lives beyond the Hill

Members of WKU’s class of 2014 look at their phones as they wait for the beginning of WKU’s commencement ceremony for the Godon Ford College of Business, University College and College of Health and Human Services, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. 

Trey Crumbie

For Jordan Bozarth, of Lewisport, who obtained a Bachelor of Science in advanced manufacturing, graduating from WKU after being a student for four-and-a-half years was a relief.

“I don’t ever want to come back,” he said.

Bozarth was one of about 250 people who sat in the middle of Diddle Arena, clad in black robes with hats, for the first of two ceremonies for the 176th Commencement on Saturday. The soon-to-be WKU alumni were surrounded by their professors, friends and family that had accompanied them throughout their college career.

About 1,300 students were awarded diplomas . President Gary Ransdell, who graduated from WKU in 1973, encouraged the graduates to take into consideration their thoughts and feelings as they pursue their desired professions.

“Our passions and our inspirations drive us to give us a strong sense of purpose and they are a great source of our happiness,” he said.

During the ceremony, a picture was displayed on two video boards. The image displayed several graduates when they were freshmen gathered on Smith Stadium’s field during the 2010 MASTER Plan ceremony. The freshmen spelled out 2014, signifying the year they would graduate. A video also played showcasing several events that occurred from this year.

Nicki Taylor, president of the Student Government Association, said from having an all-time favorite class to surviving multiple tests and projects, the graduates had a student experience that they’ll never forget. Taylor encouraged the graduates to out and celebrate their accomplishments.

“You have the rest of your life to look forward to,” she said.

Cheers of encouragement and applause echoed throughout the arena as the graduates’ names were called. At the end of the ceremony, the graduates turned the tassels on their hats to the left, signifying their accomplishment and later passionately waved their red towels.

After the ceremony, several graduates met up with their friends and family to take pictures to document the milestone in their lives.

Devon Wells, of Brooklyn, New York, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in construction management said he is going to go to Hawaii to visit his father before making the decision about where to work.

Wells was happy to graduate from WKU after being a student for five years.

“It feels like a big weight lifted off my shoulders and I’m ready to see what the future has to hold for me,” he said.