AU graduates largest class ever

Wed, 2012-07-25 09:47 -- univcomm
When the first graduates received diplomas from then Anderson College in 1921 there were 45 students in the class. On Saturday the largest group of graduates in the school's history received diplomas. A projected 575 graduating seniors received accolades from family and friends and the day's severe weather and rain had cleared the way for the traditional procession of class members into Warner Auditorium. The last time it rained during an Anderson University commencement exercise was in 1962 and this year the string of clear skies would not come to an end. The graduating class marched into Warner Auditorium under sunny skies.

Susan Springer of Ft. Atkinson, Wis., a graphic design major, was among the class of 2003. Springer said she is still waiting to decide which direction her career will take and intends to return to the Badger State.

"I'm anxious to move on," she said of graduating from Anderson University. "At the time it is sad to be moving o

n, I made a lot of friends here." Springer said several family members, including her parents, were attending the ceremony.

Benjamin Richardville of Fort Wayne graduated with a degree in English and will attend Seton Hall University to obtain a master's degree in education.

"It's nice to see four years of hard work materialize," he said. "I definitely have a lot of memories of AU."

Richardville said he was glad that it stopped raining in time for the graduation ceremonies.

Charles Oyoo of Kenya was attending the graduation of a brother and cousin.

Oyoo is completing his freshman year at AU and is majoring in mass communications and marketing. "It feels pretty good," he said of seeing relatives graduate. "I wish I was graduating, but my time will come."

Oyoo said he likes AU because the people are friendly and there is a laid back atmosphere.

Paula Stohler, who works in the Academic Advance Program, was on hand to watch some of the students in the program graduate.

"Its an exciting day," she said, "to see everyone graduate."

Stohler said the AAP takes 18-to-20 months to complete and students receive a bachelor's degree.

"Most of the students are already working," said Stohler. "It is the personal satisfaction and I'm sure they are hoping it will promote their careers."

Purdue University President Martin Jischke urged the graduating students to take the next step and serve other people in his keynote speech.

"A life of service is one of the missions of Anderson University," he said. "You are taking that spirit of mission with you."

Jischke made reference to the movie "Pay It Forward" which deals with helping people in exchange for a good deed done to each person as an individual.

"We really can change the world one person at a time," he said.

Jischke said the students' grandparents are considered part of the nation's greatest generation because they pulled the United States through the depression and World War II.

"I believe there can be more than one greatest generation," said Jischke. "You are the best and brightest of your generation. You can be a catalyst to energize the nation and world. As an educator, I have confidence in the future."

AU bestowed honorary doctorate degrees to the following: Dondeena Caldwell, Maurice Caldwell, Louis Gerig and Jischke

--KEN de la BASTIDE is a Senior Reporter for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.