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Northwest kicked off its weekend of commencement ceremonies Friday night by honoring students receiving master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Northwest kicked off its weekend of commencement ceremonies Friday night by honoring students receiving master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

April 27, 2018

Northwest celebrates 201 master’s, specialist degree recipients; Eiswert encourages graduates to live justly, truthfully


Dr. Jim Eiswert, an associate professor of philosophy, delivered the evening's commencement address.

Dr. Jim Eiswert, an associate professor of philosophy, delivered the evening's commencement address.

A master's degree candidate receives his hood as he crosses the commencement stage in Bearcat Arena.

A master's degree candidate receives his hood as he crosses the commencement stage in Bearcat Arena.

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski addresses graduates.

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski addresses graduates.

Northwest Missouri State University on Friday night awarded 201 master’s and specialist degrees to begin its weekend of spring commencement ceremonies, while Dr. Jim Eiswert, an associate professor of philosophy retiring this week after 27 years at the institution, pondered the significance of the University community’s indelible mark on graduates and its well-known chant, “Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.”

Friday’s ceremony also recognized two candidates for Northwest’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, offered jointly with the University of Missouri-Columbia. The candidates will have their degrees conferred by the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“At the heart of all your coursework, of your skills learned, of your goals achieves, lies an abiding awareness of the foundational importance of community, communication and commitment,” Eiswert said to the crowd gathered in Bearcat Arena. “This is the indelible mark of the Northwest experience, this is the “always” in “Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.”

Eiswert centered on the ideas of community, communication and commitment during his remarks, noting the words stem from the Latin root “com,” which means “together.”

“While at Northwest, you cultivated a recognition of the importance of open and free dialogue, the sharing of ideas, the ability to explore, debate and contest those ideas in a civil way,” he said.

But Eiswert, joking at the outset of his address that it was dangerous to give a microphone to a philosopher, also dispelled a myth Friday night when it comes to secret of happiness: “Philosophers know as much about meaning and happiness as every other man and woman.” Eiswert contended “the wisdom of the ages is open to all,” urging the graduates to greet others with love and tenderness, to live justly and be truth tellers.

“As we all go through life’s journey, we will encounter those moments in our own lives and in the lives of others where we want to cry out – that ‘It’s unfair.’ ‘It is unjust,’” he said. “It is important to always remember that as individuals we cannot control the forces around us but that we can always strive to live justly ourselves, and justice begins with truth. In our times, the very concept of truth itself is under an Orwellian assault, but if we remain steadfast, we can, working together, encounter the good, the beautiful and the true. And when we find it together, we should speak it boldly, especially in the face of the powers of injustice.”

Reflecting on Northwest’s mission of “focusing on student success – every student, every day,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski thanked graduates for their contributions to the University and encouraged them to celebrate their past while staying future-focused and being part of solutions in the communities they serve.  

“You are part of a cherished and unbelievably supportive network that celebrates Northwest’s long and storied tradition of excellence – use that network,” Jasinski said.

Jasinski also reminded graduates that they are now part of a minority one-third of the U.S. population who holds a bachelor’s degree or above, telling them not to take their degrees for granted.

“Your diploma is testament to your decision to live and to work as an educated person,” Jasinski said. “Go forth and make Northwest proud as you contribute to the societal good.”

The ceremony was the first of three commencement ceremonies during the weekend at Northwest. The University will award bachelor’s degrees during ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

In all, the University will award 858 degrees with top bachelor’s degree being business management and the most popular master’s degree being applied computer science.

The spring graduates range in age from 19 years old to 57 and represent 23 states and 12 countries, with 64 percent hailing from within the state of Missouri.

About Northwest Missouri State University

With an enrollment of about 6,300 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 as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location at the Northland Innovation Center and through Northwest Online.

Founded in 1905, Northwest has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report during three of the last four years as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri. Safewise ranks the city of Maryville as one of the “Safest College Towns in America,” while BestCollegesOnline.org has named the Northwest campus one of the “50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.

The University boasts a graduate rate in the 89th percentile of its national peer group. In addition, 97.4 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and nearly 99.8 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data. Zippia, a career website, named Northwest the best college in Missouri for getting a job.

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their resumes with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright Farm, Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency.

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 nation, saving students an estimated $7,300 over four years. Northwest also offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/aboutus/facts/.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468