WMU News

WMU to graduate record number of students

April 16, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will grant more than 2,800 degrees--the most in its history--during spring semester commencement ceremonies Saturday, April 23, in Miller Auditorium.

President Judith I. Bailey will preside over four ceremonies throughout the day, awarding a total of 2,824 degrees: 2,304 at the bachelor's level, 501 at the master's degrees, two at the specialist level and 17 at the doctoral level. This total surpasses the previous record of 2,708 degrees granted in April 2004.

WMU's April 2005 graduates will receive their diplomas at one of the following ceremonies.

The first ceremony starts at 8:30 a.m. and is for graduates of the Haworth College of Business.

The second ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. and is for graduates of the colleges of Aviation, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Fine Arts, and Health and Human Services.

The third ceremony starts at 2 p.m. and is for graduates of the College of Education and Extended University Programs.

The final ceremony starts at 5 p.m. and is for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Several of the students who will be graduating have military ties, including Rebecca Berndt of Dorr, Mich., and Kelly Thompson of St. Johns, Mich.

Berndt, an Army Reservist who is earning a teaching degree in history, had her studies interrupted when she was called to active duty for nine months of service in Afghanistan as a medic. Thompson, a management major, ranked 25th out of about 4,500 ROTC cadets in the country this year and will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Also among the day's graduates will be Donna Gardner-Lawson of Mattawan, Mich., who is earning her bachelor's degree in general university studies through WMU's Extended University Programs division. Donna is doubly proud because her son Larry is graduating the same day and for the second year in a row, was invited to a selective annual acting competition at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Several other graduates will not be able to participate in commencement because they will be representing WMU at national events.

Tyler Cloud of Walhalla, Mich., who has completed majors in dance, Spanish, and travel tourism, will be performing at the Kennedy Center with 33 other WMU dance students as part of the center's Masters of African American Choreography dance series. Meanwhile, aviation flight science majors Ian Alexander of Grandville, Michigan, and Joshua Niedzwiecki of Waterford, Mich., will be in Kansas with the University's Sky Broncos flight team, preparing for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship competition that begins on April 26.

The April commencement ceremonies will feature music by the Western Brass Ensemble, conducted by Steve Wolfinbarger. The national anthem and the alma mater will be sung by WMU's chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia professional music fraternity, conducted by Brendan Closz. Graduates will be welcomed as new alumni of the University by Anitta Orr, president of the WMU Alumni Association.

Tickets are required for guests to attend the commencement ceremonies, and each participating student is eligible to receive up to four guest tickets. Should there be extra tickets, participating students may request up to two more on a first-come, first-served basis from the Miller Auditorium box office beginning 10 a.m. Friday, April 22.

Guests without tickets may view the commencement ceremonies live on a large-screen television in Room 3512 Knauss Hall.

All four ceremonies also may be seen live online at <www.wmich.edu/commencement>; on Channel 7 of EduCABLE, the University's cable television system; and throughout the Kalamazoo area on Channel 20 of Community Access Cable on the Charter Communication cable system. Those needing help setting up their computers for video streaming may contact WMU's Office of Information Technology at (269) 387-4357 or <helpdesk@wmich.edu>.

The University will be providing professional recordings of all four ceremonies on both VHS videotapes and DVDs. The recordings will cost $25 each, plus shipping and formatting fees if any, and may be ordered online as well as by calling (269) 387-5460.

In addition, a professional photographer will be taking pictures of each graduating student. Color proofs will be sent to each student, but purchase of prints is optional.

For more information about the April 23 graduation exercises and how to obtain tickets, recordings or student photos, visit <www.wmich.edu/commencement>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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