Record Degrees, Milestone Alumnus and Honorary Doctorate Highlight Event
JONESBORO – Encouraging graduates to use the knowledge they gained at Arkansas State University to make a difference, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse conferred a record number of over 2,200 diplomas during spring graduation ceremonies Saturday in the First National Bank Arena.
“The definition of commencement is beginning,” said Damphousse in his address. “I’m sure you are here to mark the end of a particular university experience, whether it is an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or from a graduate program. However, the learning that started here at Arkansas State is really just a beginning of what will continue throughout your life.”
During the afternoon service, Damphousse awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Neil Griffin, a 1948 alumnus and generous philanthropic supporter of A-State. Griffin became the 18th recipient of an honorary doctorate in a tradition that dates back to May 14, 1934, when U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway became the first.
“I’m terribly honored to have this award,” stated the new Dr. Griffin. “Arkansas State was a turning point in my life, so I’m very grateful for the contributions it has made to me. You can’t change your life without education. We’re in a time of a rapidly changing environment in the whole world. We alums owe it to Arkansas State to make sure that, in addition to funding for the state of Arkansas, we fund to the maximum ability of ours to get a strong and committed faculty.”
Griffin concluded by saying, “The absolute proof of the greatness of Arkansas State University is to be found in the students graduating today and those graduating in the future.”
Students representing six colleges and Undergraduate Studies received degrees during two ceremonies — at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The morning ceremony included the Colleges of Education & Behavioral Science and Nursing & Health Professions, while the afternoon event included the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering & Technology; the Neil Griffin College of Business; Liberal Arts & Communication; Sciences & Mathematics; and Undergraduate Studies.
Student Nathaniel Charles Todd of Okmulgee, Okla. was recognized during the morning service as the 90,000th alumnus of Arkansas State. As Todd stepped on the stage to receive his Master of Science degree in college student personnel services, the ceremony was paused briefly to acknowledge the accomplishment.
Dr. Evelyn Taylor, assistant professor of social work, spoke on behalf of the A-State faculty in the morning ceremony. Taylor was awarded the professional service award during the Faculty Achievement Award ceremony in April. Dr. Kate Krueger, associate professor of English and assistant department chair and recipient of the advising award, represented the faculty with her address in the afternoon gathering.
Twenty-three students graduated summa cum laude and 132 magna cum laude. Additionally, 159 candidates graduated cum laude, and a record 185 graduating students in University Honors, Honors, and recipients of Honors Certificates received degrees.
Sarah Eberwein of Jonesboro, a Chancellor’s Scholar from the College of Nursing and Health Professions, addressed the audience on behalf of the graduates in the morning. Robert Morris of Jacksonville, the 2018 winner of the R.E. Lee Wilson Award, represented the students at the afternoon ceremony.
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Featured photo: Chancellor Kelly Damphousse takes a selfie with Nathaniel Charles Todd of Okmulgee, Okla. Todd is the 90,000th alumnus and was acknowledged during the morning ceremony as he received his degree.
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Photos/Story from Press Release/ASU