MOREHEAD – Morehead State University honored more than 1,200 degree candidates at its two spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Academic-Athletic Center.
There were smiles, cheers and lots of photographs taken as the newest alumni took the ceremonial walk across the stage, signifying the completion of their college degrees. They were greeted by MSU President Wayne D. Andrews who offered a congratulatory handshake to each of those completing graduate and undergraduate degree requirements.
Candidates from the College of Education and Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences participate in the first program Saturday morning, while students in the College of Business and Technology and College of Science took part in the afternoon program.
Carter Ryann Kozar of Richmond was the morning student speaker.
She is the oldest of four children and the daughter of Mark and Dawn Kozar. Kozar is a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary English education with a minor in French.
“Some of you may find leaving this little town of Morehead more difficult than others. While some of you are ready to get out there and find your dream job. However, many of you, like me, find leaving MSU a bittersweet combination of the two as we think of leaving behind all the memories we have made here as we begin a new adventure in the real world,” said Kozar.
“No matter how you feel about leaving, each of us can confidently say that we have been provided with a spectacular education and that we have a head start on all of our competition out there. Employers better prepare themselves for the group of graduates that will leave the gym today. I am proud of each and every one of you and all of your hard work that has gotten you to this point. More than any other day of my life, I am proud to be an Eagle.”
Born in Ohio, she attended Madison Central High School in Richmond. At Madison Central, she was class president, played on the tennis team and was on the High Honor Roll.
Upon her arrival at Morehead State University, she was awarded a full academic scholarship through the George M. Luckey Jr. Academic Honors Program. She has maintained a cumulative grade-point average of 4.0, been named Outstanding Student of French and Outstanding Undergraduate Student in English, and has made the dean’s list every semester.
She also has worked as a peer coach at the Tutoring and Learning Center. Kozar has performed more than 200 volunteer service hours.
After graduation, she plans to teach English Language Arts at the middle and high school levels.
During the morning ceremony, Dr. Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau of McLean, Virginia, were presented with honorary degrees of Doctor of Public Service.
In the summer of 2013, a gift from alumna Sara and her husband, Ernst, allowed Morehead State University’s College of Science and Technology to host two weeks of Project to Elevate Aerospace Careers in Kentucky (PEACK) workshops at the Space Science Center. Exceptional teachers from middle schools in Eastern Kentucky received training in project-based activities and engineering practices which helped them address the Next Generation Science Standards which focus more on performance than on simple knowledge.
The Volgenaus increased their commitment to preparing teachers in the STEM fields through their support of MSUTeach in 2015. UTeach (called MSUTeach at Morehead State
University) is an innovative teacher preparation program working to increase the number of qualified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers in U.S. secondary schools.
They provided resources totaling nearly $4 million to ensure MSU was fiscally able to be successful as a UTeach site.
Mrs. Volgenau is a 1957 graduate of MSU with a degree in elementary education.
Dr. Volgenau graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and later earned a Ph.D. degree in engineering at UCLA.
Tobee Keith Hagerman of Georgetown was the afternoon student speaker. He is the youngest of two children and the son of Rick and Carla Hagerman.
He is a candidate for a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.
“So, right now, let’s get on with celebrating the education MSU has given us —- so we can walk across this stage, shake Dr. Andrews’ hand, receive our diplomas, and begin our truly grown-up journeys,” said Hagerman. “And for helping us to find our paths, on behalf of my classmates, I thank all of our teachers and the staff who enabled us.”
Hagerman attended Lafayette Senior High School. At Lafayette, he was a member of the concert and marching band, participated in 4-H and FFA, and was on the Honor Roll.
Upon his arrival at Morehead State University, he was awarded full tuition through the Commonwealth Scholarship. During his time at MSU, Hagerman has retained a cumulative grade-point average of 4.0, been named Outstanding Finance Student, Graduate Dean’s Scholar, and has made the dean’s list every semester.
Hagerman is an active member of MSU’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, was the chapter vice president and state treasurer for Phi Beta Lambda, and is an active member of Phi Sigma Pi. He has actively been involved in Enactus and the Enactus Presentation Team, and is the historian for Rho Epsilon. Hagerman is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, National Society for Collegiate Scholars, and was also an institutional tutor for MSU. In addition, he runs his own livestock business that provides market goat and lamb projects to 4-H and FFA youth.
After graduation, he will study abroad in England, Ireland and Wales.
For the commencement exercises, the grand marshal and mace bearer was Dr. Itzά A. Zavala-Garrett, associate professor of Spanish, who received the 2015 Distinguished Teacher Award.
Faculty marshals were Dr. Frances L. Helphinstine, professor of English, and Dr. Dora Ahmadi, associate professor of mathematics.
Student marshals were Benjamin Lee and Mary Elizabeth Morris, Graduate Programs; Zachary Dean Edmonds and Bennett Patrick, College of Science; Sydney Bennett and Allison Terrell, College of Business and Technology; Dewey Copley and Sarah Nichols, College of Education; Gabriel Lewis and Reagan Stamper, Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
MSU Chamber Singers sang the national anthem; MSU Concert Choir led the alma mater and performed during the commencement program.
Following the ceremony, the newest alumni were inducted into the MSU Alumni Association Inc. by its interim president, Jason Rainey.
ROTC students were commissioned as part of each program.