PITTSBURG —  The moment over 1,000 students have been waiting for has come.

Students who graduated a half century ago showed up at Friday’s commencement exercises as well. Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott recognized the Half Century Class of 1968 during one of the ceremonies.  

The 50th anniversary graduates are one of the largest groups of former students who have come back for a reunion in more than a decade, Scott said. This group had the honor of dressing up in their graduation gowns and sitting with the class of 2018 during the ceremony.

“Their connection and love to this institution has not diminished since they crossed the graduation stage,” Scott said.

Pittsburg State University began its 115th Spring Commencement exercises on Friday which continued on to Saturday. This year, 1,181 undergraduate and graduate students were eligible to participate.

Before Friday evening’s ceremony the Department of Military Science had its Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony and the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing also had its Nurse Pinning Ceremony on Saturday.

The College of Technology graduated 278 students, the College of Education 317 students, the Kelce College of Business and the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing graduated 280 students and the College of Arts and Sciences graduated 306 students.

Scott encouraged the graduates to reflect on their accomplishments and to remember the people who guided them along the way.

“As you cross the stage tonight I hope you reflect on what brought you here and who helped you along the way,” Scott said to the graduating students.

“Some graduates practically race across the stage, but I recommend you take your time enjoy the moment as the evening reminds us, not everyone earns a degree and even fewer earn a graduate degree.”

After a committee evaluated academic records, campus involvement, leadership in organizations, awards and honors, community service, volunteer work and other contributions to the university Outstanding Senior Man Nick Bartelli and Outstanding Senior Woman Kolleen Gladden were selected to give a senior address at the ceremonies. Not only did they get to give the senior address, but a brass plaque inscribed with their names will be installed in the Senior Walk in front of Russ Hall in their honor.
“Pittsburg State’s statistics are impressive but the most impressive thing about our university cannot be quantified the true legacy of Pittsburg State and Pittsburg as the whole are the people,” Gladden said in her senior address. “The faculty and staff at our university and the people in our community go above and beyond in every aspect the community adopts you as one of its own and this university produces graduates that are strong and determined to leave this world a little better than when we found it.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.