April 29, 2012
Northwest awards diplomas to record 700-plus during spring commencement ceremonies
View 2012 Reflections of Northwest, a commemorative video shown at the spring commencement ceremonies.
Listen to audio recordings of the commencement remarks.
- Dr. John Jasinski, Northwest president
- Kevin Fullerton, keynote speaker (10 a.m. ceremony)
- Gov. Jay Nixon, keynote speaker (2 p.m. ceremony)
- Andrew Maddux, Student Senate president (10 a.m. ceremony)
- Andrew Maddux, Student Senate president (2 p.m. ceremony)
- Mark Pickerel, Northwest Alumni Association Board of Directors member
2012 graduate features
A record number of individuals received degrees Saturday, April 28, during Northwest Missouri State University's spring commencement exercises.
During two ceremonies, Northwest conferred 535 undergraduate degrees, 157 graduate degrees and 13 specialist degrees.
The top undergraduate majors of the spring class included business management, elementary education, psychology, agricultural business and public relations. The top graduate degree was applied consumer science.
Northwest's spring graduates represented nine countries, including Costa Rica, India, Korea, Morocco, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Portugal and Ukraine. They included 449 Missouri residents.
Additionally, 408 were female and 297 were male, and graduates ranged in age from 20 to 55.
“Each of you, as individuals, have accomplished truly, truly great things in your years here at Northwest Missouri State University,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski told the graduates. “There are so many personal stories of courage, persistence and indeed success among you. Many of you are the first members of your family to obtain a college education. Many of you have sacrificed a great, great deal for your degree. Each of you sitting before us are an example of the perseverance, collaboration, citizenship and, yes, the hard work that we value at Northwest.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered the commencement address during the University’s afternoon ceremony for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services. Emphasizing the state’s commitment to growing jobs and investing in new technologies while cutting energy consumption, Nixon commended Northwest for its model for using sustainable energy and fostering technology-based startups at its Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“This university has set the bar high for the rest of our state,” Nixon said.
He also encouraged Northwest graduates to use the lessons they’ve learned in college to “collaborate to accomplish shared goals and attack shared problems.”
“Take the blueprint your Northwest Missouri State University education has given you and start building,” Nixon told graduates. “Use it to build strong families, green and vibrant communities and a prosperous state. Use it to build a just and secure nation and a stable, peaceful world. The future is in your hands. We know you will make it very bright.”
Kevin Fullerton, a 1988 Northwest alumnus and the owner and creative director of Springboard Creative in Kansas City, addressed a morning ceremony for graduates of the graduate school and the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies. In a light-hearted address, Fullerton reflected on the uncertainty, obstacles and missteps he experienced after his college graduation. He challenged this year’s graduates to think boldly and grow through failures.
“If you want to be truly successful you have to take chances,” Fullerton said. “Scary chances. Crap-your-pants chances. You can’t wade into opportunities. You have to leap boldly.”
Fullerton encouraged graduates to tempt failure and give generously of their time, knowledge and spirit, while expecting nothing in return.
“If you’re going to do something, go all in, or don’t bother,” Fullerton said. “Success requires an almost unbelievable commitment to what you’re trying to achieve. Bold failure – taking risks – is acceptable. Timid failure – not giving your full effort – isn’t. Even if you don’t quite know what you’re doing, figure it out and find a way to make it happen – whatever it takes.”
The University’s afternoon commencement ceremony also included the commissioning of Heather Moeller, an ROTC cadet, as a lieutenant in the Missouri Army National Guard. Moeller, of Harrisonville, received her bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Northwest.
Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university offering a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs. Founded in 1905, the University has evolved into a vibrant and diverse learning community with an enrollment of more than 7,200 students hailing from throughout the United States and 33 countries. Northwest boasts a 58 percent graduation rate, which is 13 percent higher than the national average. According to the most recent data, about 93 percent of Northwest graduates find employment or continue their education within six months of graduation.
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