Chancellor Damphousse Confers Record Diplomas at Fall Graduation
JONESBORO - Encouraging graduates to use their education and experience in the future to make a difference, Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse conferred a record 1,474 diplomas during the fall graduation ceremony, Saturday morning, in the First National Bank Arena. It marked the first commencement at A-State for Damphousse since becoming chancellor. Graduates from six colleges including Agriculture, Engineering and Technology; Business; Education and Behavioral Science; Liberal Arts and Communication; Nursing and Health Professions; and Sciences and Mathematics received doctorate, bachelor, master, specialist and associate degrees. "Commencement is always a time of excitement at Arkansas State," said Damphousse. "It celebrates a milestone of accomplishment in the lives of graduates. Many of you here are the first in your family to receive a college degree. "You may have overcome obstacles, juggled jobs and studies, cared for your families and handled other responsibilities to get where you are today. You are to be commended for your success." Damphousse also invited the graduates to stand, turn to their families and thank them for their support, saying, "Obtaining a college degree these days takes a great deal of effort from both the students and their supporters. Your family and friends have been an important partner in your educational development. Today is a celebration, not only for you, but for them as well." The class includes 66 students who met the criteria for honors: 38 cum laude (3.60-3.79 grade point average overall and institutional), 25 magna cum laude (3.80-3.99 GPA) and three summa cum laude (4.00 GPA). Dr. Stacy Walz, assistant dean and associate professor of clinical laboratory science in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, spoke on behalf of the faculty. Walz, who joined the A-State faculty in 2011, was the recipient of the professional service award last spring. In September, she was appointed to the Chancellor's Commission on Completion. Walz offered the graduates nuggets of advice, including, "serve others, identify a mentor, find your tribe (team work)." Nathan Johnson of Jonesboro addressed the gathering on behalf of the graduating class. Johnson graduated summa cum laude and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies. He is a six-time member of the Chancellor's List and a member of A-State's debate team. Johnson said, "I will forever be indebted to Arkansas State for teaching me how to follow through on my words by taking action. We have been afforded an invaluable opportunity to attend a university that wants its students to go further with a desire to be more than students, but leaders. "When we leave this campus, we will forever remain representatives of our community at Arkansas State University. We will represent our jobs, our relationships, our families, ourselves to the world around us showing that every Red Wolf counts, that what every Red Wolf has to say matters and that every Red Wolf is capable of taking action."