More than 500 earn degrees at Fall Commencement

  Monday, December 18, 2017 2:00 AM
  People and Society, Milestones, Alumni, News, Academics

Pittsburg, KS

More than 500 earn degrees at Fall Commencement

President Steve Scott also achieved a personal milestone: the 8 p.m. ceremony was his 50th Commencement over which to officiate.  

In addressing the new graduates, Scott noted that those degrees will "open doors, help you make connections, and sustain you during good — and most importantly — in challenging times." 

Scott is known for commencement addresses in which he quotes authors, philosophers, coaches, athletes, past presidents, and even Broadway show lyrics. Friday, he turned to sharing bits of wisdom from the graduates themselves: He quoted their mortar boards, from "We're all stories in the end. I'm making mine a good one," to "Be greater than average," to "Believe there is good." 

He also singled out MBA student Luis Rodriguez, from Venezuela, who self-published a book about his inspiration — his mother — and political science graduate Clyven Exantus, from Haiti, who was commissioned that day as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. 

In addition to Scott, the graduates heard from Provost Lynette Olson and Dave Murfin, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, who spoke on behalf of the governing body. 

Olson noted that for those who earn a bachelor's degree, the annual median income is 67 percent higher than those with a high school diploma, and for those who earn a master's degree, the annual median income is nearly $72,000 a year — almost twice as much as those with a high school diploma. 

"You've been challenged in ways you never could have imagined, and you've thrived because of it," she said. "Your experiences have pushed you to grow academically, physically, and emotionally. You have been transformed." 

Murfin, who is the CEO of a drilling company and one of the largest John Deer Construction dealerships in North America, told the students that "higher education remains the best way for people to improve the quality of their own lives, to raise the standard of living for their families, and to contribute to the advancement of our communities, and to ensure the state's economic prosperity ..." 

"...You're the ones who will move our communities forward in the future," Murfin said, who asked the students to remain in Kansas.  

"You're the lifeblood and future of the state," he said.


To view Commencement videos, visit the following links:

College of Arts & Sciences and Kelce College of Business:

College of Education and College of Technology:

President Steve Scott's Address (5 p.m.):

President Steve Scott's Address (8 p.m.):

Provost Lynette Olson's Address:

Regent Dave Murfin's Address:

Soloist Kendra Switzer's Performance:



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