Governor, honorary degree recipient highlight WMU commencement

Contact: Jeanne Baron
Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Snyder

Photo of Dr. Antonio R. Flores.

Dr. Flores

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two special guests will be part of the celebration Saturday, April 29, when Western Michigan University grants more than 2,600 degrees during graduation exercises in Miller Auditorium.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will make remarks during WMU's 9 a.m. commencement ceremony, the first of the day's four scheduled ceremonies. Snyder, who has served as the state's governor since 2011, has made it a practice to speak during graduation exercises at a small number of Michigan colleges and universities each year.

In addition, Dr. Antonio R. Flores, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from WMU during the final ceremony of the day at 7:30 p.m. Flores is a WMU alumnus with extensive ties to Michigan.

WMU President John M. Dunn will preside over the four April 29 ceremonies. Each one will last about two hours and be geared toward students who are graduating from a particular set of degree-granting academic units. In all, the University will confer 2,628 degrees: 2,028 at the bachelor's level, 566 at the master's level and 34 at the doctoral level.


• The 9 a.m. ceremony is for the College of Aviation and Haworth College of Business.

• The 12:30 p.m. ceremony is for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and College of Health and Human Services.

• The 4 p.m. ceremony is for the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Fine Arts, and Extended University Programs.

• The 7:30 p.m. ceremony is for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Each of these spring commencement ceremonies will include music by the Western Brass Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Stephen M. Wolfinbarger. The national anthem and alma mater will be sung by WMU's chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia professional music fraternity, conducted by Ethan Fegan. The graduates will be welcomed as new alumni of the University by Jennifer Lentner, president of the WMU Alumni Association.


Tickets are required for guests to attend commencement, and each participating student is eligible to reserve up to four guest tickets. All seats are general admission. Guests who need accessible seating or other accessibility services should call (269) 387-2320 to make arrangements.

If there are extra tickets, students who are participating in one of the ceremonies may request up to two more tickets on a first-come, first-served basis from the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, April 28. After all ticketed guests have been seated in Miller, any remaining open seats will be offered to those without tickets. Guests without tickets may view the commencement ceremonies live on a large screen in 2028 Brown Hall, which is near Miller.

Live coverage, photos

All of the spring ceremonies will be broadcast live on Channel 5 of EduCABLE, the University's cable television system, and throughout the Kalamazoo area on Public Media Network Channel 191, a local public access channel on the Charter Communications commercial cable television system.

A live webcast of the ceremonies also will be available online the day of graduation. A maximum of 1,000 connections will be accepted. Not all browsers are compatible with the commencement stream.

A professional photographer will take pictures of each graduating student. Color proofs will be sent to the students, but purchase of prints is optional.

Parking, other information

Free parking will be available in parking lots adjacent to Miller Auditorium. Commencement guests should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before each ceremony. The address to use if locating Miller by GPS or obtaining online driving directions is: 2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008.

The University only conducts formal graduation exercises after the fall and spring semesters and the summer I session, although WMU students also may graduate after the summer II session. A final list of spring 2017 graduates is expected to be distributed to hometown newspapers in June.

For more information, including directions to WMU and how to obtain tickets or view the live webcast, visit Direct questions to the Registrar's Office at (269) 387-4300.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit