OSU commencement will honor 5,221 graduates

Graduates line up during last year's OSU commencement.

Graduates line up during last year’s OSU commencement.

Although rain lingered this week, Oregon State University faculty, staff and students will be relieved to know that the sunshine will return Saturday for the 144th annual commencement ceremony.

OSU is one of the few institutions of its size that hands out actual diplomas during commencement – a distinction that will become more difficult this year in light of a record class estimated at 5,221 graduates.

The ceremony takes place June 15, at Reser Stadium. The processional of graduating students will begin entering the stadium at 10:30 a.m.

Commencement is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. It will also be broadcast live on Oregon Public Broadcasting through its OPB Plus network. More information on the OSU commencement is available online at: http://oregonstate.edu/events/commencement/.

Major General Julie A. Bentz, an Oregon State University alumna who advises President Obama on national security issues, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate.

Bentz, director of strategic capabilities policy on the National Security Staff, is a 1986 graduate of OSU, where she received an ROTC commission and earned a degree in radiological health. She is the first female officer from the Oregon Army National Guard to achieve the rank of general.

“Gen. Bentz has played an integral role in advising the United States about security matters – and especially nuclear defense strategies and implications – since Sept. 11, 2001,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “Her journey from a small town in Oregon, to Oregon State University, and on to national prominence will provide a compelling message for our graduates.”

Commencement is an exciting time for faculty too, as Chris Bell, right, demonstrates.

Commencement is an exciting time for faculty too, as Lynda Ciuffetti, left and  Chris Bell demonstrate during last year’s ceremony.

OSU’s record class of 5,221 graduates includes 2,654 women and 2,567 men, who will earn a total of 5,483 degrees. This year’s grads come from 47 states, the nation’s capital, four U.S. territories or commonwealths, 18 U.S. islands, and 48 countries. Among the other highlights:

  • The oldest 2013 graduate is 64 years old; the youngest is 19;
  • Eight of this year’s graduates are receiving three separate degrees, while 247 students have earned two degrees apiece;
  • More than 340 graduates earned their degrees in distance education in 23 different degree programs through ECampus. One of those degree programs – an online computer scienceprofessional degree – is graduating its first students this year.
  • 164 members of this year’s graduating class are veterans.

Each of Oregon State’s 5,221 graduates has a compelling story.

Eder Mondragón Quiroz, the son of Mexican immigrants, is the first member of his family to attend college. He came to OSU as a shy freshman and enrolled in the College Assistance Migrant Program, where he blossomed under the tutelage of faculty. After earning degrees in Spanish and psychology two years ago, he decided to return to Oregon State and mentor younger students in the CAMP program while pursuing a graduate degree. Mondragón Quiroz will receive a master’s degree in Latino/a Studies this year – and his brother and cousin, inspired by his success, will also graduate this June.

Kyle Hatch served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2002 to 2008 and was deployed to Iraq as a medic twice. After his honorable discharge from the Marines, Hatch enrolled at Linn-Benton Community College and then transferred to OSU in 2011. He assumed a leadership role in the Associated Students of OSU Veterans Task Force, and became president of the Student Veterans Fraternity, Omega Delta Sigma. His work to advance awareness of veterans on campus has culminated in the debut this commencement of a special tassel – the Veteran and U.S. Military Recognition Cord.

Stephanie McGregor is graduating this June with a degree in bioengineering, after maintaining a 3.97 grade point average and participating in the University Honors College. The time commitment for anyone would be daunting, but what makes McGregor’s feat even more impressive is that she was an important performer on OSU’s nationally ranked gymnastics team.

“We don’t get very many athletes in our CBEE (Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering) program,” said her professor and mentor, Skip Rochefort. “To be the top student in one of the most challenging undergraduate majors and be a major contributor to a national class gymnastics team at OSU is truly an amazing accomplishment.”

~ Mark Floyd

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