Spring 2017 Commencement celebrated at Murray State University


Murray State University’s Spring 2017 Commencement ceremony was celebrated on Saturday, May 13, in the CFSB Center on the Murray campus. During the commencement program, the University awarded an honorary doctorate degree to Mr. John A. Williams, Sr., recognized the achievements of the 2017 Outstanding Students and acknowledged the 2017 Distinguished Faculty.


A total of 1,629 pending degrees, inclusive of associate, baccalaureate, master/specialist and doctoral programs were conferred to May and August 2017 candidates as 28 states and 16 countries were represented.


The ceremony formally began with the Presentation of Colors by the Murray State University Army ROTC Color Guard. Murray State President Dr. Robert Davies presided over the ceremony with a message for graduates and a Residential College Investiture. He and Acting Provost Dr. Renae Duncan administered the Awarding of Degrees.


In addressing the graduates, Davies said, “You were taught skills that will assist you in your future careers. More importantly, you have been provided the gift of knowledge and wisdom that comes through constant effort and asking questions. Your skills will help you get your first job, but it is the gift of knowledge and wisdom that will afford you the opportunity to make a difference in the world and live a life that is fully examined, bountiful, memorable and extraordinary – and make a lasting difference in the world.”


Mr. John A. Williams, Sr. delivered the Commencement Address and received an honorary doctorate from the University. Williams is chairman of the Computer Services, Inc. Board of Directors. Williams graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1962, earning a Bachelor of Science with majors in accounting and economics.


Williams weaved together the following three words: education, opportunity and community, in challenging the Class of 2017 to continue their pursuit of excellence while making an impact in the world.


The Mace Bearer was Dr. John Dressler, Murray State’s Distinguished Professor and a faculty member in the department of music through the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.


Outstanding Seniors Jaime Staengel and Jason Matthews led the candidates for degrees and also gave the valedictions. Staengel received a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Bachelor of Arts in German along with minors in mathematics and business administration. Matthews received a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. They were both recipients of the Honors Medallion and graduated summa cum laude.


Faculty Marshals assisting with the ceremony were Professors Susana Bloomdahl, Traci Byrd, Heath Keller, Michael Kemp, Robert Lyons, Matt Shultz and Gill Welsch.


Faculty were led in by the recipients of The Regents Teaching Awards for Excellence: Mickey Miller, Rebecca Pender Baum, Andrew Black, Matthew Crider, Traci Byrd, Christopher Trzepacz and Michelle Santiago.


They were joined by Presidential Research Fellow William R. Jones, Distinguished Researcher L. Murphy Smith, University Distinguished Mentor Michael Flinn, University Emerging Scholars Vladyslav Krotov and Diana Nitiham-Tunney, Faculty Advisor of the Year Beverly Fort and the recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Service Award, F. Gilland Welsch.


Graduates, family and friends are encouraged to share their memories on social media using #RacerGraduation.

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