WMU News

WMU's largest graduating class set to receive degrees

April 18, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will grant degrees to more than 2,600 students--its largest-ever graduating class--in commencement ceremonies Saturday, April 26.

Interim President Daniel M. Litynski will preside over four ceremonies in Miller Auditorium.

The day's first ceremony, at 9 a.m., is for graduates of the Haworth College of Business. The Rev. John Fleckenstein of Saint Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Mich., will give the invocation and benediction.

The second ceremony, at 11:30 a.m., is for graduates of the colleges of Aviation, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Fine Arts, and Health and Human Services, as well as Extended University Programs. At that ceremony, the University will confer an honorary doctor of fine arts degree on WMU professor emeritus Zach York, in honor of his legendary status in the University's theatre history. The Rev. Victor Ko of Kalamazoo's Third Christian Reformed Church, will give the invocation and benediction.

The third ceremony, at 2:30 p.m., is for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Rev. Benjamin Borgerson, retired from the Presbyterian Church in Evanston, Ill., will give the invocation and benediction. Borgerson's granddaughter, Erica Borgerson, is receiving her bachelor's degree in English.

The day's final ceremony, at 5:30 p.m., will honor graduates of the College of Education. The Rev. Ronald DeYoung, campus pastor for the International Student Fellowship at WMU, will give the invocation and benediction.

A total of 2,665 graduates will receive degrees, including 2,190 who will earn bachelor's degrees, 459 who will receive master's degrees, 15 who will be awarded doctoral degrees and one who will be recognized with a specialist certificate. Prior to this year, the largest class ever to graduate from WMU was 2,659 in 1972.

Among the day's graduates will be the first WMU students to complete the University's American Humanics certification program. Affiliated with the national organization of the same name, the program trains students to work in the nonprofit sector. It was the first program of its kind in the state.

At 4:30 p.m. on commencement Saturday, eight WMU students will go through another landmark ceremony when they are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Six men and two women from WMU's ROTC program will officially begin service to their country at the Annual Spring Awards and Commissioning Ceremony in WMU's Bernhard Center. Two cadets will enter active service, one will become a member of the Army Reserves and the remaining five will enter the Army National Guard in fields as diverse as military intelligence, the chemical corps and aviation. As second lieutenants, they will be responsible for the leadership, safety, training and morale of anywhere from 30 to 60 soldiers. Members of the media are welcome to attend the event, which is open to the public.

The Western Brass Ensemble, conducted by Steve Wolfinbarger, will perform music for the ceremonies. The national anthem and the alma mater will be sung by WMU's chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia professional music fraternity, conducted by Anthony Funaro. Graduates will be welcomed as new alumni of the University by Julie A. Harris, president of the WMU Alumni Association.

Tickets are required for guests to attend the ceremonies and each participating graduate is eligible to receive up to five guest tickets.

Guests without tickets may view the exercises on a large-screen television in Room 3512 of Knauss Hall. Each ceremony also will be carried live on Channel 7 of EduCABLE, the University's cable television system, and on Channel 20 of the Charter Communication cable system. In addition, video of the commencement may also be viewed online at the time of the ceremonies and for 30 days afterward. The Web address for online viewing is <www.wmich.edu/commencement>.

University Video Services provides an opportunity for persons to purchase videotapes of any of the four ceremonies. Orders may be placed by calling (269) 387-5003. The tapes are $20 each.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

WMU News
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