Dec. 5, 2012
Northwest awards degree to student one day before his deployment
Northwest Missouri State University’s winter commencement ceremony will take place Dec. 14, but the University awarded one degree early to honor a graduate called to active duty.
Northwest on Wednesday, Dec. 5, awarded a bachelor of science degree to Bryce Webb, of Winterset, Iowa. Webb, who completed his degree in horticulture with a minor in biology, is a member of the U.S. Navy, holds the rank of builder second class and is being deployed to serve in Afghanistan Dec. 6.
Northwest’s commencement coordinator, Gina Bradley, and University administrators organized the ceremony after learning this week of Webb’s change in plans. The brief ceremony, in front of a small group of Northwest faculty and staff members on the first floor of the Administration Building, included Provost Dr. Doug Dunham reading the rights and privileges of a degree. Dr. Greg Haddock, the acting dean of the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies, presented Webb with his diploma. All three men dressed in the traditional commencement regalia.
“Words can’t describe it,” Webb said of completing his degree. “I love college and I’d love to go back some day to get my master’s or my Ph.D.”
Webb joined the Navy after graduating high school and completed five years of active duty in 2006, having served in California and Japan. He then remained in the military as a reserve member while working toward a college degree, knowing he could be deployed at any time. In fact, he was deployed in February for 91 days.
When the Navy informed Webb he needed to embark on a one-year deployment a week ahead of the University’s commencement ceremony and the opportunity to finally celebrate his accomplishment of attaining a college degree in front of his family, Webb didn’t flinch. “It’s just a job. You roll with the punches,” he said.
Webb transferred to Northwest during the fall of 2009 and said he benefitted from the University’s small class sizes and opportunities to work closely with the faculty.
“I love this college,” he said. “Coming from (a larger school), I’d be engulfed with running into a seminar with 300 people, whereas here I can be in a class of 30. You don’t get so overwhelmed with so many students that you’re just a number. Here, all of my teachers knew my name and I could keep in contact with them.”
Webb said he hopes to one day open his own landscaping business.
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