2017 May Commencement

2017 May Commencement
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Good afternoon students, families and friends of Bowling Green State University. This weekend we celebrate a very momentous occasion in the lives of 2,328 graduates. It is my privilege to begin this afternoon’s address by recognizing those who provide both the leadership and the academic integrity at Bowling Green State University. First, let me introduce the platform party. As I announce the names, please stand and remain standing; and I ask you to hold your applause until the end.

Members of the Board of Trustees:
David Levey, Chair
Megan Newlove, Vice Chair
Bruce Nyberg
Dan Keller
Marilyn Eisele
David O’Brien
Cody Clemens
Meg Burrell
David Winstanley, honorary degree recipient
Susan Mucciarone, today’s commencement speaker
Rodney Rogers, Provost and Senior Vice President
Thomas Gibson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost
Ray Braun, Dean, College of Business
Mary Murray, Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development
Simon Morgan-Russell, Dean, Honors College
Jack Hott, Board Member, BGSU Alumni Association

Let’s give these folks a round of applause.

At the heart of our academic mission are our faculty members. Their teaching skills, research, expertise and involvement in our students’ education are the hallmarks of the BGSU experience. We are proud of their contributions and appreciate that they take the time to actively engage students in valuable learning experiences, mentor them as professionals and advise them in academic and career pursuits.

Faculty members please stand and be recognized.

As we begin today’s ceremony, I want to share a few interesting statistics about this graduating class:

  • In this May 2017 graduating class, there are 2,328 candidates and 79 will be presented associate degrees, 1,808 will be presented bachelor’s degrees, 404 master’s degrees and 32 doctoral degrees.
  • Of the undergraduates, 664 have also earned honors based upon high grade point averages.
  • 15% of our graduates are students of color and 61% are women.
  • There are 102 international students, representing 30 countries from throughout the world.
  • Of those students receiving associate degrees, the youngest is 18 and the oldest is 61.
  • Of those students receiving bachelor’s degrees, the youngest is 19 and the oldest is 56.
  • The youngest master’s degree recipient is 21, while the oldest is a young 68.
  • For doctoral degree recipients, the youngest is 26 and the oldest is a young 53.

As you can see our graduates today range in age from 18 to 68—proving the young are definitely driven, while our older students show tenacity and prove the concept that one is never too old to learn!

Our graduates were fortunate to be at BGSU during a very exciting time. “Pardon our dust” may best sum up the last four years as we continue one of the largest building and renovation programs in BGSU history. You had the opportunity to experience the new Wolfe Center for the Arts, the Stroh Center, new residence halls, the Kuhlin Center, Greek Village, the Falcon Health Center, the renovated recreation center, and, most importantly, some great new classrooms.

You will be proud to see we are not stopping here. Your younger classmates and future Falcons will experience our beautifully renovated traditions buildings – Moseley and University halls and, coming soon, our new College of Business Building – the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center.

In athletics, our football team captured two MAC Championships in your time with us and hockey returned to national prominence – playing for a conference championship for the first time since 1988. Gymnastics reached the NCAA tournament and women’s basketball won a MAC regular season title with 30-win season. And, of course, we welcome your return as part of the Falcon Nation for Homecoming and exciting alumni events.

The value of the BGSU degree you’re about to receive has never been higher. We continue to be ranked as a tier-one, national university by U.S. News & World Report. The Economist ranks BGSU first among public universities in Ohio for boosting graduates’ earnings 10 years after college. Once again, you can take great pride in your alma mater as we launch new academic programs in Allied Health, Forensic Science, Marine and Aquatic Biology, Economics and Law, and Software Engineering. We hope you will support our efforts and promote BGSU to your family, friends, and maybe some of your younger siblings.

Commencement is an important occasion for everyone connected to the BGSU family and we are proud to share this event – one that heralds new beginnings and celebrates achievements.

While this afternoon’s ceremony signifies a new chapter in your lives, it is my personal hope that you continue to learn and will always stay connected to Bowling Green State University.

Your sitting here today illustrates that you’ve thrived in BGSU’s supportive environment. You have embraced the unique BG learning experience – developing research and leadership skills on your journey. You have a valuable, high-quality education that will frame your thinking for years to come. The respect you have demonstrated for the ideas and values of others while you have achieved your degree from this great University will be with you for the rest of your life.

As a Falcon, you have learned to think beyond the discoveries made by others, and have empowered your imagination to shape your own future and to pursue new levels of excellence and discovery. You have the knowledge and tools to change the world.

In recognition of your accomplishments, I will now ask a number of students to stand and be recognized.

Many of you have grown through co-curricular involvement and leadership, on campus and beyond BGSU, such as in studying abroad or completing a co-op or internship.

If you have taken part in an opportunity that has provided you with leadership education including, but not limited to, student organizations, academic honoraries and advisory boards, athletics, residence education, student government, assistantships, study abroad, or other types of experiential learning, please stand and be recognized.

Please be seated.

It is important to also recognize the service you have provided to others outside of the classroom. BGSU is recognized nationally for the involvement of our students in service projects and programs. Those experiences complement your classroom learning. I invite all students who have participated in some type of community service while at BGSU to stand and be recognized.

Please be seated.

Finally, I would also like to recognize the heroic service of our United States veterans and active members of the Armed Forces who are graduating today. Would you please stand and be recognized?

Please be seated.

I say to each of you a heartfelt “thank you” for choosing BGSU and for your years here with us. Go and do your best. Make us proud, and know that you are always a part of the Falcon Family. Finally, I ask you to stay in touch – with those with whom you have studied and with this great institution you have enriched. You are Bowling Green State University. You are Falcons. On behalf of our faculty and the entire Bowling Green State University family, I am honored to congratulate you.