KOKOMO, Ind. — The Class of 2012 began a new Indiana University Kokomo tradition Tuesday (May 8), celebrating Commencement in the campus’ new pavilion.
Sunny skies and 70-degree weather prevailed for the outdoor ceremony, and many graduates wore sunglasses along with their caps and gowns. Family members cheered and took pictures as the graduates processed to the pavilion, smiling and ready to celebrate.
IU President Michael A. McRobbie called the day a celebration of accomplishment, and congratulated the class on reaching the important milestone of graduation.
“All of your accomplishments are a measure of the spirit of achievement and opportunity that pervades this growing campus,” he said.
He urged the graduates to embrace change.
“Your accomplishments reflect the world of the 21st Century, a world vastly different from the one in which your parents grew up, and one that your great-grandparents likely would not even recognize,” McRobbie said. “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.”
Chancellor Michael Harris said the pavilion is just one of the many changes the 493-member graduating class has embraced during their academic careers at IU Kokomo.
“We are an engaged campus, on the move, and the Class of 2012 actively participated in our ongoing transformation toward being a world class regional campus, part of a world-class university,” Harris said.
That change has included the addition of teams sports and joining the NAIA, 15 new degree programs, offering of classes online and on Fridays, opening a nursing simulation center, a next generation classroom and a digital media center.
“We appreciate that you took ownership of your education, and worked with faculty and staff toward these successes, “he said. “Change is not easy, yet you embraced it. You have earned my immense respect.”
Student speaker Geny Studebaker, from Rossville, also talked of the change the class has seen, and wished them “the courage to pursue change” in the future.
“With an open mind, accepting change will become easier,” she said. “Our generation is in a unique position to start a new path for those behind us to follow. This is our world. We should be the ones to decide which path it should follow.”
Each of the graduates crossed the stage to accept his or her diploma and a handshake or hug from Harris. Whole classes cheered as Harris presented them to McRobbie for conferral of degrees. Applause broke out in sections of the audience as Registrar Stacey Thomas read individual names.
Student vocalist Courtney Shively ended the ceremony by leading singing of Hail to Old IU. Some of the graduates began blowing bubbles, then burst into cheers as it concluded.
Harris encouraged the graduates to be forward thinking, intentional, and optimistic in planning their lives beyond IU Kokomo, “despite what may look like challenging economic times.
“With an IU degree in hand, you have a world of opportunities.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.