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May 2, 2015
Northwest Missouri State University celebrated the achievements today of 945 students who received diplomas from the University during its spring commencement exercises.
During two ceremonies, Northwest conferred 647 undergraduate degrees, 294 graduate degrees and four specialist in education degrees.
The top undergraduate degrees of the spring class were business management, elementary education and psychology. The top graduate degree was applied consumer science.
Northwest graduates included 617 Missouri residents, 90 from Iowa and 75 from Nebraska. Additionally, graduating international students represented 11 different countries, including: Brazil, Canada, Ghana, India, Ireland, Korea, Netherlands, People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Additionally, 54 percent of the graduates were female, and they ranged in age from 20 to 67.
During his remarks, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski encouraged the graduates to celebrate their pasts but focus on their futures. Invoking Northwest’s tagline, “Bearcats Connect,” Jasinski also encouraged graduates to be active citizens.
“Your role has been to learn, grow, challenge yourself, expand your horizons, ask questions and ask more questions, and be discerning in the way of leading with integrity, treating others with respect, having sound reasoning, and providing facts as you address and solve issues of all types,” Jasinski told the graduates. “I’m confident that each of you have found a variety of meaningful connections in your time at Northwest, and I encourage you to keep connecting.”
Thomas Sanchez, a 2002 alumnus and the founder and CEO of Social Driver, delivered the day’s commencement address. Sanchez recounted his early days at Northwest and the confidence he developed as software engineer in Northwest’s Center for Information Technology in Education through the University’s student employment program. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Northwest, Sanchez launched his career at Cerner, where he developed software applications and helped the company launch its European operations.
Those experiences, Sanchez said, were filled with challenges, but he persevered and started Social Driver, which has gained a reputation as a fast-growing company. Sanchez said he learned how to have a “driver mentality” and charged Northwest graduates with doing the same.
“A driver believes the future’s bright,” he said. “I need you to have an unshakeable confidence in a future that’s actually better off because of the work you did. And against all the odds, I want you to believe that you can achieve your dreams and you can do things that other people say you can’t.”
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 on its Maryville campus and at outreach centers in Kansas City and St. Joseph. 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” and is one of only four four-year institutions in Missouri to meet all measures of the state’s performance-based funding initiative during the past three years.
The University, founded in 1905, 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