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Bachelor's degree candidates representing the School of Education turn their tassel after Northwest conferred their degrees during a commencement ceremony Friday night. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Bachelor's degree candidates representing the School of Education turn their tassel after Northwest conferred their degrees during a commencement ceremony Friday night. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

May 3, 2019

Northwest celebrates master’s candidates, School of Ed graduates


Northwest graduate Shane Miller proposes to classmate Sierra Horan during Friday's commencement ceremony.

Northwest graduate Shane Miller proposes to classmate Sierra Horan during Friday's commencement ceremony.

Dr. Michael Rogers delivers the evening's commencement address.

Dr. Michael Rogers delivers the evening's commencement address.

A student dances across the stage at Bearcat Arena on his way to receiving his bachelor's degree.

A student dances across the stage at Bearcat Arena on his way to receiving his bachelor's degree.

Northwest Missouri State University on Friday night awarded bachelor’s degrees in its School of Education as well as master’s and specialist degrees in its Graduate School – and helped with an engagement proposal – while Dr. Michael Rogers provided Bearcats a mnemonic to offer some words of wisdom as the University began its weekend of spring commencement ceremonies.

Shane Miller, of Omaha, Nebraska, stole the hearts of Friday night’s crowd, though, when, after walking the commencement stage to receive his bachelor’s degree in criminology with an adult system emphasis, turned around to meet Sierra Horan, his girlfriend of eight years, crossing the stage behind him as she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Northwest President Dr. Jasinski shook their hands and posed for photos with them – as he does with all of the graduates – and then handed a microphone to Miller.

“I wanted to make this last memory in a special place,” Miller announced before taking a knee on the stage and proposing to Horan. She said yes and Miller showed a thumbs-up to the Bearcat Arena crowd as the newly engaged couple embraced.

Before that, Rogers, an associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems and Northwest’s 2019 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipient, delivered a humorous address during which he first fretted about his charge to provide inspiration to the graduates. He cited famous speeches, long and short, given by Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr. and Neil Armstrong, in trying to come to a conclusion on how he might shape his words.

“When Lincoln said, ‘the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,’ he might well have been giving a commencement speech,” Rogers joked.  

Rogers then offered his mnemonic – CATS – providing the graduates with traits to aspire to and tenets to live by. He suggested the graduates live with curiosity, agility, tenacity and service.

“Some of you are going on to teach K-12, and the most precious thing that your future charges have is that spark of curiosity, and you need to have the courage, creativity and conviction to help them keep that alive,” Rogers said. “Many of the graduate students are going on to careers in tech, and if you don’t have a sense of curiosity, let me break this to you gently – you are doomed. What you know now is going to be obsolete in about 15 minutes.”

Agility, Rogers said, will keep Northwest’s graduates “in the game” in a fast-changing world.

“Change is always going to happen faster, and you are going to slow, so an active conscious decision now to always, always try and keep up with what’s new – not to look at change as an assault on the status quo but as an invitation to adventure – that’s important,” he said.

While T could stand for thoughtful, transformative or even telegenic, Rogers mused, he decided on something more transformative.

“The people who make a difference in the world have something more – tenacity, the ability, when the going gets tough, to keep going, to put your head down, to keep your eyes on the prize,” he said. “You all have tenacity. The fact that you are here at graduation is proof, but in the workforce and life, you will need that trait perhaps more than anything else.”

Finally, Rogers challenged graduates to serve others.

“When you serve at a soup kitchen, when you donate to a charity, when you spend extra time with that student who just doesn't get it the first or the fifth time, you earn karmic points,” he said.

Jasinski, to open the commencement ceremony, reminded the graduates that they are part of a minority of the U.S. population who hold a bachelor’s degree or above, telling them not to take their degrees for granted. He thanked the graduates for their contributions to the University and encouraged them to celebrate their past while staying future-focused and continuing to connect with others.

“Make no mistake about what you’ve got here at Northwest Missouri State University, and when you set foot on campus, you put forward a goal and you are achieving that goal tonight,” Jasinski said. “Your role has been to learn and grow and challenge yourself, to expand your horizons and ask 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.

“You are proceeding into the workforce or to military service and to more education pursuits, and we’re so very thankful for you as you better society and better the communities in which you live.”

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 a record 1,062 degrees during the weekend. That total includes 749 bachelor’s degree candidates, with business management being the most common major among those students. Another 313 are receiving master’s and educational specialist degrees, with education leadership in K-12 being the most common graduate degree.

The spring graduates range in age from 20 years old to 58 and represent 36 different states and 10 countries, with 65 percent hailing from within the state of Missouri.

 

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 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 graduation rate in the 89th percentile of its 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, recently 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 200 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $7,400 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/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