Celebrating Spartan graduates


Once again, I have the privilege of joining colleagues and board members in saluting our most recent class of graduates at the 2015 spring commencement this week.

Some 7,300 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred on spring grads, with many of our 2,200-plus summer graduates joining them. Around 85 percent of the eligible degree recipients typically attend. And all our graduates are part of Michigan State University—a connection that will stay with them always.

As we recognize them for their achievements at the ceremony, I like to prompt our graduates to acknowledge their parents and families for supporting them throughout their academic careers. And I like to quote a predecessor of mine, John Hannah, to remind them to “come home often.”

We have another great group of speakers and honorary degree recipients this year. Bob Chapek, chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, speaks at our undergraduate ceremony May 8. He earned his master of business administration degree here and has recorded a distinguished career at Disney.

Carlotta LaNier, who at age 14 bravely helped integrate public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, will receive an honorary doctorate of laws. She went on to attend MSU and today is president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation. Daniel Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and an active Eli Broad College of Business alumnus, will receive an honorary doctorate of business.

Dow Chemical Company chair and CEO Andrew Liveris, a strong advocate for manufacturing competitiveness in the United States, addresses advanced degree recipients later in the day.

It’s a season of mixed emotions across campus, knowing so many are moving on to a new phase of their lives. But watching all the young scholars posing at The Spartan statue in their caps and gowns, beaming with joy while being photographed by friends and family, is deeply rewarding. The brighter horizons they’ve created for themselves and those around them make all of us proud to be Spartans.

Spartans Will.

 Photograph of graduates tossing their caps in front of The Spartan statue.



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