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WKU will confer degrees to the inaugural graduates of its Doctor of Physical Therapy program, present two honorary doctorates and recognize top undergraduate and graduate students during its 179th Commencement on May 13-14.

WKU's 179th Commencement will be conducted May 13-14 at Diddle Arena.

WKU’s 179th Commencement will be conducted May 13-14 at Diddle Arena.

WKU will confer degrees and certificates to 2,564 spring and summer graduates during four ceremonies at Diddle Arena. (More: Commencement parking information.)

The first 30 recipients of the physical therapy doctorate will be among 724 students honored at the graduate ceremony at 5 p.m. May 13. WKU also will confer 614 master’s, six doctor of education, seven doctor of nursing practice and nine specialist in education degrees and 58 graduate certificates. The John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student will be presented to Chase LaDue of Lewisville, Texas.

During three undergraduate ceremonies at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. May 14, WKU will confer 1,714 baccalaureate degrees, 82 associate degrees and 44 undergraduate certificates and will present honorary doctorates to Dr. C. June Maker, a 1970 WKU graduate known for her contributions to gifted education, and John Kelly, founding member of the Kelly Autism Program.

WKU President Gary Ransdell will deliver remarks at the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies.

The 9:30 a.m. undergraduate ceremony will include Ogden College of Science and Engineering and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences as well as the presentation of Dr. Maker’s honorary doctorate and recognition of members of the Class of 1966 who will be on campus for the Golden Anniversary Club Reunion; the 2 p.m. ceremony will include Potter College of Arts & Letters and University College; and the 6 p.m. ceremony will include Gordon Ford College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services, the presentation of Kelly’s honorary doctorate and the recognition of Jessica L. Canada, a Business Administration and Economics major from Williamsburg, as the Ogden Foundation Scholar, WKU’s top academic honor.

The undergraduate ceremonies will include the parade of U.S. and international flags and recognition of honor graduates and faculty award winners. Each graduate will be given a Class of 2016 red towel to wave at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Eight ROTC cadets also will be commissioned as second lieutenants during the weekend ceremonies.

The undergraduate ceremonies will be broadcast live by WKU PBS and all ceremonies will be webcast live on WKU PBS Ustream available at For information about Commencement photography, video and webcast, visit

For social media posts about Commencement, follow #WKUGrad or visit

Gatton Academy graduation

In addition to WKU ceremonies, The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky will recognize 58 students from 38 counties in the Class of 2016, its ninth graduating class. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. May 14 at Van Meter Hall. Guest speaker will be Dr. C. June Maker.

Regional campus ceremonies

WKU Glasgow will host its Graduand Ceremony on May 5 at the Plaza Theatre in Glasgow.

WKU Glasgow will host its Graduand Ceremony on May 5 at the Plaza Theatre in Glasgow.

WKU’s regional campuses also will have spring graduation events starting with WKU Glasgow’s Graduand Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (May 5) at the Plaza Theatre, 115 E. Main St. in Glasgow. Keynote speaker will be James “Bud” Layne, founder of SpanTech LLC. The program will include student remarks, student awards and graduand recognition by WKU Provost David Lee. Graduand is a term of status referring to a student who has completed his or her studies at the university, but not yet graduated in a formal ceremony. The ceremony will be recorded by the Glasgow Electric Plant Board and aired on EPB Cable6; for details, visit the Glasgow Electric Plant Board at

WKU Elizabethtown/Fort Knox will host a commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time) May 16 at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center, 384 W. Jenkins Road, Elizabethtown. Student speaker will be May graduate Shameka A. Hardin of Rineyville, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in Social Work.

WKU Owensboro will host a commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. May 16 at the RiverPark Center, 101 Daviess St., Owensboro. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Dennis George, Associate Provost for Regional Higher Education. Student speaker will be Jennifer Bowlds of Utica who is receiving a Master of Social Work degree. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Social Work at WKU Owensboro in summer 2015.

Other recognition events

  • Lavender Recognition Ceremony, 6:30 p.m. May 10 at Augenstein Alumni Center
  • International Graduation Reception, 4 p.m. May 12 at Honors College/International Center.
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy Hooding, 1 p.m. May 13 at Downing Student Union Auditorium.
  • Educational Leadership Doctoral Hooding, 2 p.m. May 13 at Gary Ransdell Hall Auditorium.
  • Hilltopper Battalion Commissioning, 3 p.m. May 13 at Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium.
  • Outstanding Black Graduates Ceremony, 7 p.m. May 13 at Van Meter Hall.
  • WKU Alumni Association Commencement Celebration, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 14 at Augenstein Alumni Center

Contact: Registrar’s Office, (270) 745-3351

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 Last Modified 5/2/17