WKU Celebrates Graduates at 191st Launch
Light rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of graduates Thursday night as they headed to Houchens Industries-LT Smith Stadium for Western Kentucky University’s 191.st Beginning.
As the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds, President Timothy C. Caboni noted that WKU’s new alumni faced the most trying circumstances faced by any group of college graduates from recent memory.
“Through the disruptions and obstacles created by an unprecedented global pandemic and the devastation caused by the historic December storm, you have endured so much,” he said. “But your unwavering courage and persistence, coupled with your relentless drive to succeed, got you to this point.
“Your commitment to a goal, your determination of spirit and your boundless resilience have served you exceptionally well. And if there’s one promotion worth celebrating upon crossing the finish line, it’s you !
WKU celebrated 3,713 graduates – 2,527 Spring/Summer 2022 and 1,186 Fall 2021 – at its May 2022 ceremony. (After: Startup program; photos on Facebook WKU)
Student Government Association President Matthew Wininger reminded fellow graduates that their experience at WKU had been transformative. “We came here to get a degree, but we come away with so much more,” he said.
“WKU’s mission is to prepare students from all backgrounds to become productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society. Our WKU experience did just that,” Wininger continued. “Strengthened by the unusual and unprecedented circumstances we have faced, we are now ready to face whatever lies ahead. Through these trials our light has shone and the Hilltopper spirit has endured.
WKU has presented honorary doctorates to Angela Alexander Townsend and Abraham Williams Jr., both of Bowling Green. Townsend, a longtime educator and 2015 inductee into Governor Louie B. Nunn Kentucky’s Teachers’ Hall of Fame, was awarded an honorary doctorate in the humanities. Williams, executive director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, which has partnered with WKU on numerous projects, received an honorary doctorate in public service. (Learn more about honorary degree recipients)
Ahmet Kaan Aydine from Istanbul, Turkey, who earned a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics, was recognized as the recipient of the John D. Minton Award. The Graduate School’s top award is named for Dr. John D. Minton, who was professor of history and first dean of graduate studies at WKU and served as vice president of administrative affairs and fifth president of WKU. (#WKUGrad: More about Ahmet Aydin)
Ogden Foundation Scholar
Zena Pare of Alvaton was the Fall 2021 Ogden Foundation Scholar. She earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in International Business, a Bachelor of Science with a major in Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communications from business and organizational, plus a minor in American Sign Language Studies and certificates in Advanced Professionalism and Applied Data Analytics. (#WKUGrad: Learn more about Zena Paré)
Nicholas Barth of Alvaton was Spring 2022 as an Ogden Foundation Fellow. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology and German, in addition to a minor in Clinical and Community Behavioral Health. (#WKUGrad: Learn more about Nicolas Barth)
The Ogden Foundation Award, WKU’s highest undergraduate graduation honor, is awarded to a bachelor’s degree graduate who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and outstanding academic and civic engagement.
The Hilltopper Army ROTC program has commissioned 15 graduates as second lieutenants in the United States Army.
Colonel Morgan Greene, professor of military science, took the oath of office to the following cadets (name, hometown, first posting): Sean Alamo from Greensburg, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; Joshua Blackwell from Franklin, Tennessee, assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia; cole blaine from Smiths Grove, Ky., assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Jonathan Bryant from the White House, Tennessee, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; Marissa Burnside from Hendersonville, Tennessee, assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Keith Contreras from Palatine, Illinois, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; Avery Duval from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia; Joseph Lee Friedman from Princeton, Indiana, assigned to Fort Rucker, Alabama; Jamie goes from Bardstown, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; Anthony Griffin from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Jordan Hardy from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia; Shelby Howell from Greensburg, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Janice Kampsen from Clarksville, Tennessee, assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Abraham Poku from Carthage, New York, assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia; Jack Willy of Bowling Green, Kentucky, assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia.
WKU recognized graduates and attendees who serve in the U.S. military or who are military veterans.
- Launch activities began with Topper Walk along Champions Avenue and ended with the Big Red Bash on the South Lawn.
- Dr. Julia Roberts, Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies and Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Studies and the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Sciences in Kentucky, carried the mace to lead the motorcade. platform guests. The honor of carrying the mace is given to the faculty member present who has served the longest term. Dr. Roberts taught at WKU for 40 years.
- The national anthem was conducted by senior graduate Benjamin Morrison, a vocal performance specialist from Bowling Green.
- Dr. Donna Lemaster Bredenberg, Chair of the WKU Alumni Association Board of Directors, welcomed the graduates to the WKU Alumni family.
- The Spring/Summer 2022 graduates included 72 WKU student-athletes with a 3.35 GPA. The fall 2021 graduates included 21 student-athletes with a 3.30 GPA.
College Recognition Ceremonies
On Friday at Diddle Arena, WKU’s five graduate colleges will hold recognition ceremonies to celebrate the achievements of their graduates who cross the line and shake hands with President Caboni.
The time for the ceremony is as follows: College of Health and Human Services, 8:00 a.m.; Potter College of Arts & Letters, 10:30 a.m.; Ogden College of Science and Engineering, 1 p.m.; College of Educational and Behavioral Sciences, 3:30 p.m.; and Gordon Ford College of Business, 6 p.m. The ceremonies will be broadcast by WKU PBS and will be streamed on WKU’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
WKU expects heavy traffic throughout the day. To accommodate graduate and guest traffic, WKU Parking & Transportation provides parking recommendations for each ceremony, including shuttle service to Diddle Arena, at https://www.wku.edu/commencement/directions .php as well as live updates at https://www.wku.edu/eventparking. After: Event parking information; #KnowParking video; parking plan
Gatton Academy Diploma
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science will recognize 77 students from 37 counties in the class of 2022, its 15th class. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Van Meter Hall. Speakers will include Bruce Kessler, Claus Ernst and Uta Ziegler.
Contact: Communications and Marketing, (270) 745-4295
Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty, and staff for long-term success. As student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentuckywhich was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of America’s Most Beautiful Cities, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.