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May 2, 2011
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MARYVILLE, Mo. - A total of 656 individuals graduated Saturday during Northwest Missouri State's 105th spring commencement exercises.
During two ceremonies, Northwest conferred 512 undergraduate degrees, 138 graduate degrees and six specialist degrees, while 136 students graduated with honors.
The top undergraduate majors of the spring class included business management, elementary education, psychology, health and physical education and biology. The top graduate major was the master of business administration.
Northwest's spring graduates represented nine countries, including Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Spain and Tanzania. They included 442 Missouri residents and 177 students from other states.
Additionally, 355 were female and 301 were male, and graduates ranged in age from 20 to 60.
"Each of these students are examples of the perseverance, collaboration, citizenship and hard work that we value at Northwest Missouri State University," Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. "These are the types of skills that make Northwest students champions in the classroom and in the workplace."
U.S. Army Col. Christopher Hughes, a Northwest alumnus, addressed graduates at both ceremonies. While reflecting on some of the military experiences that have taken him throughout the world, he challenged graduates to rise up to new expectations that come with obtaining a college degree.
"Each of you now possess a college education from Northwest Missouri State University, an achievement that is neither common nor shared by a majority of your peers around the world," Hughes told graduates. "Ladies and gentleman, you are now the exception in this world. So today my advice to you is simple: find a moment, a moment to reflect.
"Whether you're driving home, or you step away from a party this afternoon, take a moment to reflect on what you've accomplished. Be thankful for the opportunities that you now have the opportunity to pursue. Be thankful you live in a country, a free country, with a constitution that breeds citizens who are encouraged how to think, in stark contrast to oppressed nations that control their citizens by telling them what to think."
Northwest presented Hughes with an honorary doctor of laws degree. The University's afternoon commencement ceremony also included the commissioning of Hughes' son, Patrick, as a second lieutenant into the United States Army and the fourth generation of the Hughes family to serve the country. Patrick on Saturday received his bachelor's degree in political science from Northwest.
Northwest boasts a 58 percent graduation rate, which is 13 percent higher than the national average. According to the most recent data, about 95 percent of Northwest graduates find employment or continue their education within six months of graduation.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468