On Sunday, June 14, PSU held its university-wide 2015 Spring Commencement Ceremonies. I attended ten ceremonies throughout the week, and witnessed great excitement, joy and recognition at each. The accomplishments of our students was evident in their speeches; faculty, family and friend recognitions; and plans for the future.
- It was wonderful to see graduates at the Native American and Pacific Islander Ceremony wrapped in beautiful blankets by staff and faculty.
- In the same lecture hall I handed out chocolates to students at the fall opening of the Collaborative Life Sciences Building, I also got to address graduates in the Biology Department.
- It was impressive to see the great turnout for the Speech and Hearing Department’s first hooding ceremony.
- I enjoyed spending a good part of a day with the School of Social Work faculty at their two commencement ceremonies (undergraduates and graduates).
- It was an honor awarding the Kamelia Massih Outstanding Faculty Award in the Arts to Professor Corey Griffin and the Outstanding Student Award to Margaret Heath at the College of the Arts Ceremony.
- At the Lavender Graduation, there were warm and gracious individual thank-you’s from graduates to their faculty, partners, family, and friends.
- It was heart-touching when one of the student speakers at our Multicultural Graduation said to her fellow students:
“We all came to PSU as a grain of sand. PSU was our oyster and turned us into pearls.”
Breakdown of University Commencements
Portland State graduated more than 6,000 students in two ceremonies at the Moda Center. The class of 2015 came from 45 states and 51 nations and ranged from 16 to 77 years old. Photos, videos and social media posts show the excitement of the day.
- The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ceremony was held in the morning.
- The College of the Arts, Maseeh College of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Education, School of Business Administration, and School of Social Work ceremonies were held in the afternoon.
- About 1,500 students were at each ceremony and each student’s name was read to a burst of applause and cheers.
It was well worth it to those of us who spent the entire day at the Moda Center: the volunteers, our students in the PDX Connections vocal group, faculty, staff, and those of us on the platform party. Not to mention all the volunteers who came on Saturday to help set up. Commencement was the culmination of months of work by Nicholas Running, Coordinator of Commencement and Outreach, who not only planned the ceremonies, but also graduated with a master’s degree, and all the members of the Graduation Board.
Faculty Recognition Lunch
We held the faculty recognition lunch between the morning and afternoon ceremonies. President Wiewel introduced our 2015 honorary doctorate recipients. We acknowledged the Ambassador Al Kuwari from Qatar, a PSU alumni, for his gift to increase the monetary awards for faculty and staff. Awardees for the 2015 Faculty and Staff Awards were presented with a check and framed certificate.
Thank-you’s were given to each chair of a Faculty Senate Committee, to all the members of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee, Bob Liebman for his work as Presiding Officer of the Senate, and Martha Hickey for her service as Faculty Secretary.
Lastly, what would a blog about graduation be without showing some of the footwear our students were sporting? After all, they were all wearing the same outfit and their shoes were just one way to show off their individuality.