Winter Graduates, Spartans, Much to Celebrate

Posted on: December 10, 2013

WinterGraduationIt's finals week and the volume in the hallways is turned way down, but the intensity is heavy in the air. Students have turned in their final projects and are wrapping up their exams. Faculty are buried in their offices grading exams and submitting grades for the end of Fall semester.

But everyone knows that in just a few more days, they will have much to celebrate!

Before the Spartans head off to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl on January 1, MSU has Winter Commencement coming up this Friday and Saturday. For CAS, that means 214 undergraduates and 24 graduate students will kick off this holiday season with a new college degree. Winter graduation is considerably smaller in the number of students participating than Spring Commencement, but every bit as important to those graduating and their families and friends.

On Friday, we have 19 students receiving master's degrees and five receiving doctorates. They will join other graduates from across campus to listen to keynote speaker Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, at 3:30 p.m. in the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Coleman will be presented an honorary doctorate of laws.

On Saturday, from CAS, 65 students will graduate with bachelor's degrees in Advertising, 69 in Communication, 29 in Journalism, three in Retailing and 48 in Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media. At 2 p.m., also at the Breslin Center, Sergio Marchionne, chairman of Chrysler Group, LLC, and CEO of Fiat S.p.A., will address undergraduates from CAS and the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Engineering, Natural Science and Nursing, as well as Lyman Briggs College. Marchionne will be presented an honorary doctorate in engineering.

These are both excellent speakers at the pinnacle of their careers and exemplary role models for our students. I am hoping that they will reinforce the message that faculty members have strived to communicate over the past several years while these students have attended classes at CAS. Go forth and be the next generation of global communicators and leaders dedicated to enriching lives around the world.

We are reminded today as world leaders gather in South Africa to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Nelson Mandela, that one person can truly change the course of history and improve the lives of millions of people.

At CAS, we are committed to engage our students in multidisciplinary projects that provide them the opportunity to experience what it means to solve important problems, work as a team and reach beyond their individual comfort zones to improve the lives of others. My sense is that if you survey each graduating student, he or she will be able to quickly recall the project that tested their patience the most, but also taught them life's most valuable lessons.

In keeping with MSU President Lou Anna Simon's "Boldness by Design" strategy, we want our graduates to play a vital role in "leading the nation and the world to a better tomorrow." It may take bold strokes of courage, brilliance and imagination to dream the impossible, as well as humility and forgiveness as Nelson Mandela's life exemplified, but BOLD is what Spartans are meant to be.

Please join me in congratulating our soon-to-be graduates!

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