Representing the largest class ever to graduate in December, 582 students will receive their degrees at the commencement ceremony scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. Dec. 17 in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.”The school has grown over the last several years, and every class seems to be larger than the one before it,” said Patrick Miller, university registrar and director of enrollment management.
This class of seniors is made up of a diverse range of students. The commencement ceremony will showcase their various talents and backgrounds. Six of the seniors will graduate with a 4.0 GPA, and 40 international students will represent 28 different countries as they receive their diplomas, said Margaret Kelly, director of Special Projects Marketing and Communication.
Monica Boldt, a graduating voice major, will be seated on the platform with Chancellor Victor Boschini and the deans of all the colleges. She will lead the singing of the Alma Mater and the hymn “Praise be to God the Almighty” for the baccalaureate part of the ceremony.
“I contact the music department to find out if any graduating voice major, in either December or May, is willing and able to sing at commencement,” Kelly said. “It is good to have students take part in this role rather than faculty members, which has been done in the past. We have been trying to include the students more in these ceremonies.”
Other students participating include Air Force ROTC students Robert Cowsert, Lester Disney, Jordan Kaul and Solomon Sonya, who will present the colors.
The Rev. Charles Calabrese, who is a Roman Catholic campus minister, will say the invocation and litany.
The keynote speaker for this event will be former Chancellor Michael Ferrari, who will speak to the graduates about what it means to serve and be a leader. This December will be Ferrari’s first time attending a commencement since his retirement three years ago.
He was invited to give the address in honor of the first presenting of the Michael R. Ferrari Award for Distinguished University Service and Leadership, which will be awarded to a faculty or staff member who is nominated by anyone at the university. The finalists for the $5,000 cash award are chosen by a committee of faculty and staff, and Boschini ultimately picks the winner.
This award will become an annual graduation presentation and is one of five accolades to be awarded at commencement. Two faculty and two deans’ awards also will be given, Kelly said.
Commencement will be a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates. Prior to the ceremony, a reception for the graduates and their families will be held from 11:00 a.m. to noon in the Kelly Alumni Center.
“Typically, this reception has great attendance,” Boschini said. “It is a nice final chance for everyone to gather before the big ceremony. I usually see lots of cameras and a few tears, too. It is a very special time for the people who choose to attend.