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Dec. 12, 2014
Northwest Missouri State University awarded 542 students with their academic degrees during its winter commencement ceremony Friday, Dec. 12.
The total number of graduates was the highest for a winter commencement ceremony in the school’s history, outdoing the 472 degrees awarded in winter 2004.
The University awarded 333 bachelor’s degrees, 204 master’s degrees and five specialists in education degree candidates. The top undergraduate major in the graduating class was elementary education and the top graduate degree was applied computer science.
Members of the graduating class ranged in age from 20 to 67 years old. The class included 304 Missouri residents, and the graduates represented six countries including Costa Rica, China, India, Korea and Saudi Arabia.
In his remarks, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski praised the graduates for the courage they exhibited and the successes they achieved on the way to earning their degrees. He encouraged the graduates to contribute to the communities they go on to serve and challenged them to be future-focused.
“No matter the road you traveled, I encourage you to celebrate the past, but be future-focused,” Jasinski said. “It no doubt will take perseverance, collaboration, citizenship and hard work – all the elements we value at Northwest Missouri State University.
“I implore you to use your education and keep learning and growing. Go out and be part of the solution. Stay positive and focus forward by helping others, helping your communities and being servant leaders.”
John Moore, a Northwest alumnus who recently retired as chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, addressed the graduates and their families as the day’s commencement speaker.
Moore advised graduates on the topic of “What You Can Do to Maximize Your Chances of Having a Successful Career.” First, he encouraged graduates to work in a job or field for which they are passionate.
“No matter what career you pursue, you’ll experience annoying routine, frustration and certainly some coworkers or bosses that will drive you crazy,” Moore said. “But if you’re doing something you love and something you believe in, it makes it a lot easier to work through a little adversity. … You only go around once in this world and a big part of the journey is your work, so find something you feel passionate about.”
To illustrate his second point – take some risks – Moore recounted the personal and professional growth he experienced by moving to Los Angeles. He met people from a variety of cultures, made several trips to Disneyland with his family, worked on a Rose Parade float and met some celebrities.
Moore’s final suggestion was to work hard, but recognize the hard work of others.
“By all means, work hard to get ahead, but also take the time to express your appreciation for those who helped you along the way,” Moore said. He added, “Wherever your career takes you, remember where you came from, be proud of it and know that you’re always welcome back.”
With an enrollment of more than 6,700 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs. This fall, Northwest is ranked as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri on U.S. News and World Report’s list of “2015 Best Colleges.”
The University boasts a 59 percent graduation rate, which is about 20 percent higher than the national average. In addition, 98 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data.
Furthermore, its vibrant and diverse learning community offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the state, saving students an estimated $7,200 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468