Ransdell honors class of 2013 at 173rd Commencement ceremony

Jacob Parker

President Gary Ransdell honored graduates at 3 commencement ceremonies on Saturday in Diddle Arena, and encouraged each new alumni to jump at every opportunity. 

“We need a new generation of risk takers,” he said.

The 173rd Commencement ceremony granted a total of 2,079 academic degrees and certificates, 1,475 of them bachelor degrees.

Ransdell told the graduates that above all else, he hopes WKU has given them the ability to think for themselves.

“When someone gives you advice, lay their ideas alongside your own thoughts and your own feelings, and if their suggestions jibe with your hopes and dreams, great, then follow their advice,” Ransdell said. “But think for yourself, listen to your heart, tune into your innermost feelings, and trust your instincts.”

Kristen Miller, the President of the Alumni Association, advised graduates to embrace a new phase in their life, whether they’re anxious or not.

“Transitions can be as exhausting as they are exhilarating,” she said.

Miller told graduates to not be nervous about moving forward.

“You are prepared, you have experience, and you have a degree,” she said.

Parents and other family and friends alike cheered as the class of 2013 left the auditorium.

One mother, Nashville native Stephanie Cunningham, came to see her daughter, Janeisha Davis, who was graduating with a degree in psychology.

“I’m so proud that I can’t even put it into words,” Cunningham said. “It’s great to see her be so mature and to have done something I haven’t.”

Vanessa Peters, a graduating senior from Radcliff, said that her experience at WKU has made her more mature and ready for her new life. Peters also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“Being here has definitely prepared me, and I have great calves now,” she said with a laugh.