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WKU to confer degrees and certificates to 2,605 during 181st Commencement May 12-13

WKU will confer degrees and certificates to 2,605 spring and summer graduates during its 181st Commencement May 12-13 at Diddle Arena.

During the graduate ceremony at 5 p.m. May 12, WKU will confer 29 doctor of physical therapy, 11 doctor of education, nine doctor of nursing practice, 583 master’s and nine specialist in education degrees and 58 graduate certificates. The John D. Minton Award for outstanding graduate student will be presented to Jessica Canada Wellman of Williamsburg. Wellman, who is receiving her master’s degree in Applied Economics, was honored at the May 2016 Commencement as the Ogden Foundation Scholar, WKU’s top undergraduate award.

During three undergraduate ceremonies at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. May 13, WKU will confer 1,741 bachelor’s degrees, 96 associate degrees and 69 undergraduate certificates.

The 9:30 a.m. undergraduate ceremony will include Potter College of Arts & Letters and University College as well as recognition of Cade McGavinn Brown, a History and Political Science major from Franklin, as the Ogden Foundation Scholar; the 2 p.m. undergraduate ceremony will include Gordon Ford College of Business and College of Health and Human Services; the 6 p.m. undergraduate ceremony will include College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

In his final Commencement as WKU President, Dr. Gary A. Ransdell will deliver remarks at the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies. He also will serve as the keynote speaker at the WKU Elizabethtown-Fort Knox ceremony on May 14 and the WKU Owensboro ceremony on May 15.

The undergraduate ceremonies will include the parade of U.S. and international flags and recognition of honor graduates. Each graduate will be given a Class of 2017 red towel to wave at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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

The undergraduate ceremonies will be broadcast live by WKU PBS and the graduate and undergraduate 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 59 students from 37 counties in the Class of 2017, its 10th graduating class. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. May 13 at Van Meter Hall. Guest speaker will be Dr. Julia Carter, President of the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory.

Regional campus ceremonies

WKU’s regional campuses will have spring graduation events starting with WKU Glasgow’s Graduand Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. May 4 at the Plaza Theatre, 115 E. Main St. in Glasgow. Keynote speaker will Jay Todd Richey of Glasgow, WKU Student Government Association President and Student Regent. Student speakers will be Ashley Broady of Glasgow and Kendra Cline of Smiths Grove, both elementary education majors and members of the Class of 2017. The ceremony will include presentation of 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.

WKU Elizabethtown-Fort Knox will host a commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. (Eastern time) May 14 at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center, 384 W.A. Jenkins Road, Elizabethtown. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ransdell. Student speaker will be Edward Razo of Radcliff, a social work major and member of the Class of 2017.

WKU Owensboro will host a commencement ceremony at 6:30 p.m. May 15 at the RiverPark Center, 101 Daviess St., Owensboro. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Ransdell. Student speaker will be Joshua Holder of Owensboro, an elementary education major and member of the Class of 2017.

Other recognition events

  • Lavender Recognition Ceremony, 7 p.m. May 9 at Augenstein Alumni Center
  • International Graduation Reception, 3 p.m. May 11 at Honors College/International Center
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy Pre-Commencement Ceremony and Awards Presentation, 1 p.m. May 12 at Downing Student Union Auditorium
  • Educational Leadership Doctoral Hooding, 2 p.m. May 12 at Gary Ransdell Hall Auditorium
  • Hilltopper Battalion Commissioning, 3 p.m. May 12 at Downing Student Union, room 3005
  • Intercultural Student Engagement Center Graduation Celebration, 7 p.m. May 12 at Downing Student Union Auditorium
  • WKU Alumni Association Commencement Celebration, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May 13 at Augenstein Alumni Center

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

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 Last Modified 5/2/17