JONESBORO — Graduates, family members, friends, faculty and many others watched the 2021 Arkansas State University fall commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in First National Bank Arena.
Originally scheduled to be held in Centennial Bank, rainy conditions forced the event indoors.
“Commencement is always a time for excitement here at Arkansas State University as we celebrate along with you a milestone accomplishment,” said Chancellor Kelly Damphousse.
“Like me, many of you are the first family of students — the first in your family to get a college degree. Others among you represent second or third or fourth generations to attend Arkansas State. All of you had to work hard to be here today after overcoming challenges while balancing your studies and other responsibilities.”
Damphousse conferred degrees upon graduates from seven colleges including Agriculture, Neil Griffin College of Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Engineering and Computer Science, Liberal Arts and Communication, Nursing and Health Professions, and Sciences and Mathematics, along with the Graduate School and University College. Graduates received doctoral, specialist, master, bachelor and associate degrees.
Reed Middleton of Marianna served as the featured student speaker on behalf of the graduating class. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the Neil Griffin College of Business. He served as a senator in the Student Government Association (SGA) and sponsored several resolutions, including the naming of the Red Wolf statue and was also a member of numerous Chancellor’s and Deans Lists.
“It is truly an honor to stand before you on this special day as it marks an important milestone in our lives,” said Middleton. “Commencement is a time of reflection and celebration. We reflect on years of school behind us and on the bumps and bruises we survived along the way. And, we reflect on the many memories we have made. We celebrate hard work and accomplishments.
“As a student, many have asked me why did I choose Arkansas State University, and I reply, well, how much time do you have? From the moment I set foot on this campus as a high school student on a college day tour, I have been amazed by the family atmosphere and the countless opportunities to get involved, serve others, learn and to grow.”
Middleton continued, “I admire the beautiful campus that so warmly welcomes us back with each sunrise. I have been amazed by the unwavering commitment of educators who combine knowledge and wisdom to make an impact in our lives. They teach, of course, but they are also advisers, mentors, and encouragers.