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Morning Sun
  • Gorilla Graduation

  • Pittsburg State University’s Kelce College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences celebrated the commencement of their graduates Friday evening, and the College of Technology and College of Education will do so this morning.

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    Pittsburg State University’s Kelce College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences celebrated the commencement of their graduates Friday evening, and the College of Technology and College of Education will do so this morning.

    The commencement ceremony celebrates the achievements of students during their college careers and the hopes for each student’s future.

    Many of the graduates have big dreams as they begin their lives after college.

    For Paul Hartfield, the commencement ceremony is one more exciting moment in a couple months of major life events.

    Hartfield was commissioned as a second lieutenant Friday morning as part of PSU’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, and then graduated with his bachelor of business administration Friday evening.

    “It means a lot,” he said. “It’s been a busy four years.”

    During his time at Pittsburg State, Hartfield met his future wife, and he will be getting married in early June, then heading to Fort Benning, Ga., later in the month.

    Kylie Smith and Lakota McCune said the arrival of graduation day was exciting, as is the transition it marks.

    “It’s that final recognition of all of your hard work,” McCune said.

    Smith, an accounting major, will remain in Pittsburg and work for Pitsco, while McCune has plans to begin work in the Kansas City area.

    McCune said her time at Pitt State has been memorable and provided growing opportunities.

    “They’re not the easiest years, but they’ve been good,” she said.

    Commencement ceremony speeches reflected this, noting that much of what is learned during the college years becomes applicable to life.

    University president Steve Scott said commencement is a special moment for the graduates, the university and for parents, family and friends because of the effort put into the accomplishment.

    “This ceremony is a celebration of those efforts,” he said.

    Page 2 of 3 - “We are pleased and appreciative that you chose to make this institution part of your life’s journey,” he told students. “You were making the choice of a lifetime.”

    He added that the university is proud of the students and looks forward to continuing to support them.

    Scott also asked graduates to think of the word “hope” as they go, adding that hopeful people believe the future will be better than the present, and that they have the power to make it so.

    “I believe in each of you,” he told graduates. “You haven’t just wished for a college degree. You’ve worked hard for it and you’ve earned it.”

    Mildred Edwards, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, challenged the graduates to recognize the value of higher education and to work together in community to change the world.

    “You can help change the world, but you don’t have to do it alone,” she said, adding that students have the ability to use what they learned at Pittsburg State University to do so.

    “Ensure your ambitions, passions and perspective are aligned with who you are at your core,” she continued.

    Jessica Berberich, the outstanding senior woman of 2013, spoke about the assumption of her generation as “Generation Do Nothing” or “Generation Go Nowhere,” but she noted that she is standing in front of a class with major accomplishments and celebrations.

    She challenged her classmates to keep their priorities and to change the world.

    “The Gorillas I know can and will step up to face the challenges bestowed upon us,” she said.

    Austin Osborn, outstanding senior man of 2013, took the opportunity to thank many people who have helped him along the way, and challenged classmates to continue to acquire knowledge and to be lifelong learners.

    “When we follow this path, we are giving ourselves permission to ask the two big questions,” he said. “Why and what if?”

    He said each will find his or her own place in the world, but challenged all to do one thing.

    Page 3 of 3 - “One thing we share is we are all Gorillas,” Osborn said. “Be the best Gorilla you can be.”

    Students were recognized for academic honors, then received their diplomas.

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