KOKOMO, Ind. – More than 2,000 people gathered Tuesday morning (May 10) at Indiana University Kokomo to witness the 42nd Commencement, where more than 500 degrees were conferred. Chancellor Michael Harris presented the Class of 2011, an honorary degree, and distinguished alumni award during the ceremony.
“You are the educated strong. I urge you to move forward with optimism, excitement, and be positively forward-looking, despite what looks like challenging economic times,” Harris said. “The future is in abundance, and depends on the choices you make and how you utilize your IU education to benefit yourself and your community. We have all the confidence that the Class of 2011 has all it takes.”
IU President Michael McRobbie presented his charge to the graduating class. He noted the education graduates receive from IU Kokomo will prepare them for the advanced technology of today’s world.
“This is a world vastly different from the one in which your parents grew up,” said McRobbie. “It is a world where you should expect to change careers multiple times, and with the increasing globalization of our economic system, you should also be ready to work overseas for a period of your career. This is a world in which you can blog, tweet, and text from nearly anywhere. In fact, some of you are probably texting right now.”
As the Student Body President and member of the graduating class of 2011, Nida Zia congratulated her fellow classmates.
“We celebrate the ending of one phase of our story, but look forward to years of future beginnings,” said Zia. “Faculty, staff, and administrators, through your efforts, you see another class graduate. Family and friends, today you will form another remarkable memory with your loved ones. Finally, my esteemed fellow graduates, today we can finally celebrate this day which, for many, we have been awaiting for the past four years, for others, a few decades, and for some, it has seemed like a lifetime, but we have made it!”
In recognition of his contributions to higher education, V. William Hunt was honored with an honorary degree – Doctor of Humane Letters. Hunt is the son of Virgil Hunt, the “founding father” of IU Kokomo. Hunt is an advisory board member and strong supporter of higher education and this campus. The Hunt family also established a scholarship fund for students intending to major in the sciences and mathematics.
Also honored during the ceremony was Alan Biggs, vice president for financial services at Howard Regional Health System in Kokomo, as Distinguished Alumni. Biggs earned his M.B.A. from IU Kokomo in 2001, and has not only worked diligently in the financial realm of health services, but has tirelessly volunteered his time to various non-profit agencies.
Students expressed their excitement about the day, and the opportunities a degree from IU Kokomo will provide them. For instance, Nick Sale, who earned his bachelor’s in secondary education, already has accepted a job offer.
“I’ve been working non-stop toward this day for four years,” said Sale. “I was just hired by Eastern High School to teach English starting this fall. The staff at IU Kokomo has been great, and I felt we were able to work closely with our teachers. I’ve been able to make close friends here and plan to keep in touch, possibly sharing ideas and resources for lesson plans.”
Working as a payroll specialist for Syndicate Sales, Lynda Ogle was preparing to receive her bachelor’s degree in labor studies. This was the third degree Ogle has earned from IU Kokomo within six years. Her other accomplishments are an associate degree in general studies in 2008, and a bachelor’s in general studies in 2010.
“The best part of my experiences here was getting to know and meet the younger people and get their perspective,” said Ogle, the mother of four. “I think I’m ready to relax and may read for enjoyment. All four of my sons are grown and out of college, so this was my time to fulfill my dream.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.