JONESBORO – Arkansas State University will conduct its 2017 Spring Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 13, at the Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive. Dr. Doug Whitlock, who has served as A-State’s interim chancellor since September 2016, will address the graduates and the audience at both ceremonies, scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
More than 2,200 candidates will receive degrees. There are 28 students graduating summa cum laude and 108 magna cum laude. There are 141 candidates graduating cum laude. Thirty students will graduate in University Honors, 68 will graduates in Honors, and 46 will receive Honors certificates.
Chancellor Whitlock will confer diplomas upon students from the College of Education and Behavioral Science and the College of Nursing and Health Professions in the morning ceremony, and again at the afternoon event to students from the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Technology; Business; Liberal Arts and Communication; Sciences and Mathematics; and Undergraduate Studies.
Michaela Supple of Albuquerque, N.M., an exercise science major receiving a bachelor of science degree, will address the morning audience. Wilson Award winner Jared Gowen of Garner, who will receive a degree in biological sciences, will speak at the 2:30 p.m. service.
Assistant professor of social work Dr. Evelyn Taylor, recipient of the faculty award for excellence in teaching, will provide remarks on behalf of the faculty at 10 a.m., while Dr. LaQuita Saunders, assistant professor of history and co-director of the Pre-Law Center, will speak in the afternoon. She is the honoree for the faculty award for excellence in academic advising.
Doug Whitlock became the fifth individual to hold the title of chancellor at Arkansas State University in September 2016 after serving as president and president emeritus of his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University. Charged with guiding Arkansas State through the 2016-17 academic year, Whitlock has reinvigorated the campus with a new commitment to shared governance, increased internal communication and the creation of a Campus Climate Council.
Along with his monthly First Friday video messages to keep the campus better informed on issues, Whitlock team-authored an article for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities with ASU System President Charles L. Welch on the national and global impact of Arkansas State’s Campus Querétaro project.
Whitlock and his wife, Joanne, have become regular attendees of events across the A-State campus during the past year. Governor Asa Hutchinson recently honored both as Arkansas Travelers.
He was also presented with the university’s Champion of Diversity award in April for his work to enhance programs in support of an improved campus climate.
A first-generation college graduate, he earned his first two degrees at Eastern and completed his doctorate at the University of Kentucky. A product of Richmond, Whitlock attended elementary and high school in his hometown before enrolling at Eastern, where he served as the editor of the campus newspaper. Earning his bachelor’s in 1965 and master’s in 1966, Whitlock left to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army where he reached the rank of captain.
Following his service, Whitlock began his career with Eastern in 1968 as the director of publications. He rose through the administrative ranks over the next three decades. He was director of public information from 1971-76, executive assistant to the president from 1976-98 and vice president for administrative affairs from 1998-2003.
He retired in 2003 from EKU, but was asked to return as the interim president at Eastern in 2007. The EKU board of regents asked him to consider taking the position full-time, becoming the 12th president of Eastern. Upon his retirement in 2012, the regents bestowed upon him the title of president emeritus. The board also renamed its Student Success Building the Charles Douglas Whitlock Building.
Whitlock initiated and oversaw capital, regional stewardship, student success and academic research projects that have defined EKU. Some of those projects include Kentucky’s second-largest performing arts center and the New Science Building, both of which opened in 2011; the innovative Noel Studio for Academic Creativity; and the Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies. He also guided the addition of the first three doctoral degree programs in EKU history.
Live streaming of both graduation ceremonies is available online by accessing the link AState.edu/livestream.
Following each ceremony, there will be a reception on the north mezzanine for graduates and their families.
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This and other news releases also available at: AState.edu/news