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Degree candidates are greeted by Northwest administrators as they cross the stage at the University's winter commencement ceremonies. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Degree candidates are greeted by Northwest administrators as they cross the stage at the University's winter commencement ceremonies. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dec. 14, 2018

Northwest awards 442 degrees during commencement ceremonies

Northwest Missouri State University awarded 442 bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and education specialist certificates Friday during winter commencement ceremonies as graduates were challenged to show leadership.

“Every day is a great day to be a Bearcat, but especially today as we honor each and every one of you,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said during his opening remarks. Noting that just one one-third of Americans have a college degree, Jasinski added, “We honor your perseverance and success in achieving something so few actually accomplish. Today’s celebration is the culmination of all you have accomplished at Northwest.”

Tim Cowden addressed the University’s graduates and their families during the commencement ceremonies. As president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), he leads the strategic direction and vision for the organization, from global positioning of the Kansas City market to investor and client relationships. KCADC drives new corporate attraction in partnership with economic development leadership across Kansas City’s 18-county, two-state region.

Cowden joined KCADC in 1998 and has more than 30 years of experience in economic development that also included senior positions in Texas and Utah.

During his remarks, Cowden recounted the varied education and career journeys of his four children and contended that everyone is a leader, no matter their role in the organizations they serve. He described the anxiety he felt as a college graduate trying to establish a career. After a stint in Texas, Cowden retreated to join his family’s business. When that didn’t work out, he went back to economic development and moved his family to Utah.

“I remember vividly sitting out there just like you are now,” he told the graduates. “(Thinking) ‘What am I going to do?’ ‘You can’t do it.’ Show leadership to you because before you can lead anyone else you have to do that for you.”

Cowden also praised Northwest’s “special” culture and challenged the graduates to take it with them as they move on from the University.

“This is an amazing place,” he said. “The culture here – and you know it – in Maryville and Northwest is special. When you get into the corporate world, take this positive culture that you have at Northwest and infuse it wherever you go. That is something so special that you have here, and you will appreciate that the further away you get from this campus.”

All told, the University awarded 313 bachelor’s degrees, 127 master’s degrees and two education specialist degrees during its two ceremonies Friday. The top graduate degree was applied computer science, and the most common undergraduate major was elementary education.

Geographically, 60 percent of the graduates were Missouri residents, and another 18 percent hailed from Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. The class included 62 international graduates representing the Bahamas, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Nepal and the Netherlands.

Members of the graduating class ranged in age from 20 to 66.

Twenty-two percent of the class graduated with honors with 11 students earning the highest honor of summa cum laude, achieving a cumulative grade-point average of between 3.95 and 4.0. Forty-one students earned magna cum laude honors with GPAs between 3.75 and 3.94, and 46 earned cum laude by completing with GPAs between 3.5 and 3.74.


About Northwest Missouri State University

With an enrollment of more than 6,800 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 five years as the top moderately selective regional university in Missouri. Safewise has ranked the city of Maryville as one of the “Safest College Towns in America,” while 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 that is in the 89th percentile of Northwest’s national peer group. In addition, 97 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. Zippia, a career website, has 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 résumés 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


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215