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July 29, 2011
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State University celebrated the achievements of 301 graduates during its summer commencement ceremony Thursday, July 28.
Northwest awarded 159 undergraduate degrees, 130 graduate degrees and 12 specialist degrees.
The top three undergraduate majors in the summer class were business management, recreation with a corporate recreation and wellness emphasis, and psychology. The top three graduate degrees were master of business administration, education leadership with an emphasis on secondary education and education leadership with an emphasis on elementary education.
The summer's graduating class consisted of 173 females and 128 males who ranged in age from 21 to 61 years old. Missouri residents comprise 218 of the graduates, and the class represented seven different countries, including India, China, Canada, Japan, Lithuania and Nigeria.
"But the class of 2011 is not just about a number," Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski told the graduates. "Each of you as individuals has accomplished great things in your years at Northwest. There are so many personal stories of courage, persistence and success among you. Many of you are the first member in your families to obtain a college education. Many of you have sacrificed a great deal for your degree."
Sister Berta Sailer addressed the graduates and their families as the commencement ceremony's featured speaker. Sailer is co-founder of Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City, a not-for-profit agency that provides childcare and a broad range of social services for working-poor families in Kansas City, and she was the 2010 Greater Missouri Woman of the Year.
Sailer, who painted a humbling picture of the effects of poverty on Kansas City residents and reflected on her agency's mission to slow it, likened the journey to building a puzzle.
"Today with your diploma, you're going to get a puzzle," she told the graduates. "It has millions of pieces in it. There's no picture on the front of the box to tell you how to put it together. The pieces won't be big ones, they'll be little ones. There's no smartphone where you can get directions on how to put it together. Some of the pieces are your family and friends and the experiences you have past and present. Over your lifetime, this puzzle will come together. You don't know what it will look like. With hope and determination you will see it come together.
"But you've got to include more than your immediate circle in your puzzle. Perhaps you will work with an agency. Perhaps you will become involved in a cause or become an advocate for others that have no voice. Whether you lobby for legislation for individuals or for groups of people, become a foster parent or an adoptive parent, stock a food pantry, see about a stranger on the street that needs help - all of those are putting pieces in your puzzle. The pieces you bring to this puzzle will enrich you and the lives of everyone around you."
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.
The University's fall trimester begins Monday, Aug. 29.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468