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Graduate Ceremony Began WKU

Graduate Ceremony Began WKU's 175th Commencement

WKU’s 175th Commencement began Friday night (May 16) with the largest number of spring master’s degree recipients in the past three decades at 425, the first graduates of WKU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and the presentation of the John D. Minton Award.

During the graduate ceremony at Diddle Arena, WKU conferred nearly 450 doctoral, master’s and specialist degrees and about 50 graduate certificates. The ceremony included 66 international students from 24 countries.

WKU President Gary Ransdell encouraged members of the Class of 2014 to be bold, to lead by example, to be fair and honest and to take responsibility when they make mistakes. “Don’t interpret mistakes as failures,” he said. “They are life’s way of moving us in a different direction. The lack of failure in life is rarely a sign of perfection; rather, it’s a usually sign that your goals aren’t bold enough.”

WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated Nicholas Levis, the 2014 recipient of the John D. Minton Award. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated Nicholas Levis, the 2014 recipient of the John D. Minton Award. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Nicholas Levis, a biology master’s degree student from Bowling Green, received the John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student and was named an outstanding graduate student in the Ogden College of Science and Engineering. Levis, who had two publications, made three conference presentations and won Biology Department graduate student awards, has accepted a PhD fellowship at the University of North Carolina. (Dr. John D. Minton, WKU’s first graduate dean, served as vice president for Administrative Affairs and as WKU’s fifth president.)

In addition to Levis, other recipients of outstanding graduate student awards were:

  • College of Health and Human Services: Whitley Stone of Sevierville, Tenn., kinesiology.
  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: Daryl C. Hagan of Henderson, educational leadership doctoral program.
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: Monic Shah of Burlington, Mass., chemistry.
  • University College: Kelsea Shultz of Conyers, Ga., leadership studies.
  • Potter College of Arts & Letters: Mark Reeves of Louisville, history.
  • Gordon Ford College of Business: Caden Dickerson of Argyle, Texas, master of business administration.

The spring and summer graduates of WKU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program also were recognized. They are: Lorraine Adler of Lewisburg; Betty Alexander of Glasgow; Maire MacCarthy Blankenship of Bowling Green; Tonya Bragg-Underwood of Glasgow; Jodie L. Dunkelberger of Mount Washington; Donna Jean Embry of Morgantown; Carrie Morgan of Oakland; Beverly J. Mortimer of Glasgow; Melissa Kaye Travelsted of Bowling Green. (Read more about the inaugural graduates at

The spring 2014 graduates of WKU’s Educational Leadership Doctoral Program are: Amy Jane Bryant Allen of Tompkinsville, principal of Barren County High School’s Trojan Academy; Daryl C. Hagan of Henderson, superintendent of schools for Diocese of Evansville; Mana Kariman of Bowling Green, assistant professor at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College; Hajara Mahmood of Bowling Green, biology instructor at WKU; Lauren Martin of Bowling Green, school psychologist at Warren County Public Schools; Adam Murray of Spring Hope, N.C., dean of University Libraries at Murray State University; Rheanna Painter Plemons of Bowling Green, assistant registrar at WKU; and Catrice L. Reese of Lexington, system director of Virtual Student Services. (Read more about the spring 2014 Ed.D graduates)

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 Last Modified 5/2/17