Graduates and audience pack the Stroh Center for Spring Commencement
Family members and loved ones fill the Stroh Center to watch their graduates during the 10 a.m. Commencement ceremony on April 27. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)

In Photos: Spring Commencement 2024

Estimated Reading Time:  

BGSU celebrates the achievement of its Spring 2024 graduates during three Commencement ceremonies

The 309th Bowling Green State University Commencement welcomed a new generation of alumni during ceremonies on April 26 and 27, as families, loved ones and supporters gathered to celebrate the graduates' accomplishments and the next steps in their lives.

University photographers Craig Bell, Justin Camuso-Stall '14, Haven Conn '22 and Keira Ellenberger documented the culmination of the graduates' journey and the excitement for students and loved ones.

Three female graduates cheer among a crowd of graduates
Three interior design graduation candidates cheer together ahead of the Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 27. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
Young man in graduation cap and gown with arms raised
A new graduate celebrates after walking across the Commencement stage. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Young woman in graduation cap and gown with one arm raised
For some of the Class of 2024, the in-person graduation was their first, as many in the Class of 2020 had virtual high school commencements. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)

The BGSU Spring 2024 graduating class included 2,528 candidates, of which 106 were presented with associate degrees, 1,898 with bachelor's degrees, 513 with master's degrees and 31 with doctoral degrees.

The commemoration of student success started at 3:30 p.m. on April 26 with a hooding ceremony and reception for doctoral degree candidates in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts.

At 7 p.m. on April 26, a ceremony for all graduate degree candidates from the Graduate College and bachelor's degree candidates from the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering took place at the Stroh Center.

Family members and friends fill the arena stands at the Stroh Center
Family members of graduates wave in the stands.(BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Female graduate holds her diploma cover
Emily Zawodny, 4.0 President’s Award winner and Karl E. Vogt Outstanding Senior Award winner, celebrates graduating with her degree from the Schmidthorst College of Business. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
A man hugs a person in a graduation cap and gown
A dad gives his graduate a hug. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
A graduate with a cap and gown smiles while friends congratulate him
A graduate is congratulated by friends and family outside the Stroh Center after the ceremony. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)

On April 27, a ceremony for bachelor's degree candidates from the College of Education and Human Development and the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business took place at 10 a.m. in the Stroh Center. A final ceremony for bachelor's degree candidates from the College of Arts and SciencesCollege of Musical Arts and associate and bachelor's degree candidates from BGSU Firelands rounded out graduation weekend at 3 p.m.

BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers poses for a photo with two graduates wearing hard hats
BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers poses with two construction management graduates Jakob Fay and Jason Mefferd. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
Three graduates hold their diploma covers up
Three newly-minted graduates hold their diploma covers after crossing the stage in the 10 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 27. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
Female graduate holds a yellow rubber chicken with a graduation cap
A graduate keeps it light-hearted with her commencement chicken sidekick. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Young male graduate shakes hands with the provost
Schneider Cornely, exercise science major and McNair Scholar, shakes hands with Provost Dr. Joe B. Whitehead Jr. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
Emily Gerome, who served as Undergraduate Student Government president, celebrates her degrees in political science and communication. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Five young men in graduation gowns with sashes stand together at graduation
Five members of Alpha Tau Omega celebrate graduation together. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)

BGSU also awarded two honorary doctoral degrees to recognize the accomplishments of alumni James B. Karugu ’62, posthumously, and Lt. Col. Ryan Nowlin ’00, ’04.

Karugu, the second attorney general of Kenya, was honored with an honorary doctorate in public service, which was accepted by his daughter, Vicky.

Born in 1937 when Kenya was still under British colonial rule, Karugu graduated from the racially segregated St. Peter Claver’s Primary School for Africans in Nairobi City and enrolled at BGSU in 1958 with an interest in public service.

As the first Kenyan and African student to ever study at BGSU, Karugu's educational journey had many highlights, including his election as president of the International Students’ Society where he interacted with many local community groups. Karugu also babysat future Olympic ice-skating champion Scott Hamilton and won an athletic scholarship after his roommate challenged him to a race across the lawns of the former Rodgers Quadrangle residence hall. He graduated from BGSU in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

A woman accepts a framed document and graduation regalia from BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers and Provost Joe B. Whitehead Jr.
Vicky Karugu accepts an honorary doctorate degree in honor of her late father, James B. Karugu ’62, the second attorney general of Kenya, from BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers and Provost Joe B. Whitehead Jr. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

BGSU also recognized the accomplishments of Lt. Col. Ryan Nowlin ’00, ’04, the 29th director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, with an honorary doctorate in music education.

With “The President’s Own,” Nowlin has arranged and composed a variety of music for the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra and small ensembles. His arrangements are frequently included in high-profile national events, including a 2013 collaboration with Beyoncé (“The Star-Spangled Banner”) and Kelly Clarkson (“America”) for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama as well as an arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Jordin Sparks in honor of the anthem’s 200th anniversary at Fort McHenry. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music education and conducting, both from BGSU. 

A man receives graduation regalia hood from BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers and Dr. Bruce Moss.
Lt. Col. Ryan Nowlin '00, '04, '24 (Hon.) is hooded by BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers and former Director of Band Activities Dr. Bruce Moss. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

For many of the BGSU Class of 2024 graduates, the weekend Commencement ceremonies served as their first in-person, traditional graduation ceremony, having graduated from high school in 2020. Family and friends didn't miss the chance to congratulate their graduates, filling the Stroh Center to capacity for the three ceremonies.

Daughter-mother graduate duo Erin and Victoria Main celebrate Commencement together after the Friday night ceremony. The pair have attended BGSU together for the past two years. Erin graduated with a master of fine arts degree while Victoria earned her master's in media and communication and will begin her Ph.D at BGSU in the fall. Joining the Falcon family is BGSU undergraduate Madeline Main. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
A woman in graduation regalia presents a diploma cover to a male student
Schmidthorst College of Business Dean Dr. Jennifer Percival presents her son, Kieran, with his diploma cover during Commencement. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Three excited family members wave to their graduate from their seats.
Three excited family members wave to their graduate from their seats inside the Stroh Center. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)
A woman in graduation regalia presents a diploma cover to a male student
Cecilia Castellano, vice president for Enrollment Management, presents her nephew, Joseph Castellano, with his diploma cover as he completed his bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Young female graduate waves while wearing an African cloth stole
Families and friends were thrilled to be able to witness Commencement in person for their graduates in the Class of 2024. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)
Young woman in an Army uniform holds her diploma cover high outside the Stroh Center
Fran Gaier, chapter president of BGSU Student Veterans of American, holds her diploma cover and celebrates her business administration degree. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

The wit and creativity of BGSU students shone through with their choice of decorated mortarboards. From thanking family members, to touting their future professions, the colorful additions stood out in the field of graduates. Here are some of the favorites captured by BGSU photographers.

Graduation cap spells out BGSU on a field of flowers
A Bedazzled BGSU logo appears on the top of a graduation cap
Graduation cap of a future teacher says “Miss Elkins”
Gradution cap says, "SICSIC Sez Spirit in Your Face"
Graduation cap has Lego musicians arrayed on the top
Architecture graduation caps says "Designing my future"
Two graduation caps are decorated with nursing profession motifs
Two nursing grads express their graduation thoughts on their caps. (BGSU photo/Keira Ellenberger)

As each Commencement ceremony closed, the new graduates were united in the rituals of becoming BGSU alumni. From changing the direction of their tassels to signify the ending of a chapter in their academic careers, to standing together to sing the alma mater, the University welcomes a new flock of alumni to the Falcon family.

Graduates stand up and sing together
Newly minted BGSU alumni stand to sing the alma mater together. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn ’22)

Related Stories

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 04/30/2024 06:19PM