Washburn celebrates College of Arts and Sciences commencement

Washburn University’s College of Arts and Sciences held its commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. May 17 in Lee Arena.

After the graduating students led by grand marshal Jorge Nobo processed into the arena and were seated in front of thousands of friends and family members, the national anthem was led by graduating bachelor of music student Aaron Springer. Following that, 2013-2014 WSGA president Shelbie Konkel briefly welcomed the crowd.

Randy Pembrook, vice president for academic affairs who presided over the ceremony, then introduced the attending university deans, chairs, professors, board of regents members, vice presidents, directors and President Jerry Farley.

Farley addressed the graduates, emphasizing in his speech the importance and role leadership would have in each of the graduate’s futures.

“What a wonderful day to celebrate, and that’s what we’re here to do today, to celebrate your success,” Farley said in the opening of his speech. “You will soon be in leadership positions.”

Farley told the graduates they possess critical thinking, problem solving, communication and analytical reasoning skills among a few other. He said they have drive, intelligence and creativity, but as they enter the professional world “focus” would become something imperative to develop.

Farley recited more than one definition of leadership but said that traits all leaders have are loyalty, duty, respect, honor and courage. It takes more than just having these traits, though, according to Farley.

“Leaders need to know what’s unique about each individual with which they work,” said Farley. “I urge you to always be optimistic.” 

After Farley addressed the students, William Sneed, chair of the Washburn board of regents presented an honorary degree of doctor of literature to John Tidwell, a Washburn alum. Tidwell earned his bachelor of arts in English from Washburn but went on to earn his PhD from the University of Minnesota and has since taught as a professor of English at multiple universities across the nation.

Tidwell said the emotion he felt when President Farley gave him the news that he was to be given this honorary degree was similar to that felt when a friend or family member whom you rarely see stops by just to tell you they love you. He thanked his family, relatives and friends for always supporting him and accepted the award in his late mother’s name.

The ceremony continued with a brief recognition of graduates who had completed Washburn Transformational Experiences as well as international students.

The Sibberson award finalists, who were the most involved and academically accomplished students of the college of arts and sciences, were then announced. The finalists were Bonnie McKee, a biology major, Adam Teel, a political science major, and Monica Voth, a French major. The winner was McKee, who will be attending KU medical school this coming fall.

The conferring of the degrees was then facilitated by Farley and Lauren Stephenson, dean of the colleges of arts and sciences. The master’s degrees were awarded first followed by the associates and bachelor’s. 

The ceremony concluded with the singing of the Alma Mater by Springer and the recessional, led by Nobo. By approximately 2:15 p.m. there were 305 new Washburn alumni.

To see a clip from the School of Applied Studies Commencement visit: