BGSU holding Spring 2024 Commencement exercises April 26-27

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Celebrating the academic achievements of the Class of 2024, Bowling Green State University will hold Spring Commencement exercises on Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27, on the Bowling Green campus.

The commemoration of student success begins 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 will take place at the Stroh Center.

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 will start at 10 a.m. in the Stroh Center. A final ceremony for bachelor's degree candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Musical Arts and associate and bachelor's degree candidates from BGSU Firelands will begin at 3 p.m.

In total, the BGSU Spring 2024 graduating class includes 2,528 candidates, of which 106 will be presented with associate degrees, 1,898 will be presented with bachelor's degrees, 513 with master's degrees and 31 with doctoral degrees.

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

James B. Karugu ’62
BGSU will recognize the distinguished career of the late James B. Karugu ’62, the second attorney general of Kenya, with an honorary doctorate in public service.

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.

From BGSU, Karugu pursued his law degree in the United Kingdom and returned to Kenya a few weeks before the country became independent and was appointed crown counsel. When Kenya gained independence on Dec. 12, 1964, Karugu became state counsel. He then rose to become senior state counsel and later, deputy public prosecutor in 1971. In 1980, President Daniel Arap Moi appointed him Kenya’s second attorney general. He resigned in 1981 and went into private business.

In 2010, Karugu was named one of the University's 100 most prominent alumni. Along with other BGSU alumni from around the globe, he returned to campus that year and was recognized for his career accomplishments and for personifying the University’s tradition of excellence.

Karugu died on Nov. 10, 2022, at 85 years old. He was buried next to his late wife, Margaret Waithira Karugu (1938-2007), at their home in Kiamara Estate. The couple had four children, Victoria Nyambura, Rose Gathira, Eric Mwaura and Benjamin Githara.

Lt. Col. Ryan Nowlin ’00, ’04
BGSU will also recognize 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. Additionally, his music has been heard at countless White House events including receptions, state dinners and Independence Day celebrations on the South Lawn.

As the unit's education officer, Nowlin also manages Marine Band educational outreach initiatives such as Music in the Schools, Music in the High Schools, Tour Educational Outreach and the Concerto Competition for High School Musicians, and has been involved in the Marine Band’s Young People’s Concerts since 2011. He frequently appears as a guest conductor with high school honor and all-state bands, community and municipal bands and with university ensembles across the country.

Nowlin holds a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in music education and conducting, both from BGSU. He is a 1996 graduate of North Royalton High School in Ohio.

For graduates or guests unable to attend, ceremonies will be livestreamed at BGSU.eduBGSU YouTube and BGSU Facebook.

Graduates are encouraged to share their photos on social media using the hashtags #BGSUGrad and #BGSU2024.

Updated: 04/23/2024 09:45AM