In the midst of taking finals and preparing for life after college, Lorena Wilkinson is also finishing up the student respondent speech she will deliver to her peers at the fall 2013 graduation ceremony at OSU Institute of Technology.
“I’m a little nervous. I’ll be talking to the entire student body,” said Wilkinson, who is graduating with an Associate in Applied Science degree from the School of Watchmaking. “I’m honored to have that opportunity. I hope I can represent my class well.”
Laurie Lunow knows exactly how Wilkinson is feeling. Just two years ago she was getting her speech ready when she graduated from OSUIT with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design Technology in 2011.
Now she returns to her alma mater as the commencement speaker at Friday’s graduation ceremony.
“I’m overjoyed and yet a bit intimidated. I find it a great honor to make the keynote
address on such an outstanding day in the graduates’ lives. I certainly don’t take
Lunow said. “Where they’ve been and where they are now, I know firsthand what it feels like. I just want to make sure the day is about their accomplishments.”
Wilkinson said she wasn’t expecting to be chosen as the student respondent.
“I was surprised, but I think I was really touched,” she said, and added she’ll miss the OSUIT community. “Everyone kind of knows everyone. There isn’t this feeling of having cliques. I really liked my classes. The faculty is dedicated to our success.”
That atmosphere is what drew Lunow to the school, and that what she would get out of it was directly related to what she put into it.
“There were a few short nights and many long days, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything or any other school,” she said. “I learned what it was to be passionate and dedicated to something in my life and I met and forged relationships with some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met.”
Lunow is now an art director with Saatchi & Saatchi X, a shopper marketing agency headquartered in Springdale, Ark.
Wilkinson said she’s using the opportunity as student respondent to talk about how much the university has meant to her and her fellow graduates.
“OSUIT provides us with an education that we can automatically go out and get a job. We can take what we’ve learned here and apply it to the real world,” she said. “The challenges I’ve had here made me go further than I ever thought I would.”
On Friday, Wilkinson said she’s looking forward to seeing her friends get their degrees, as well as get her own.
“That moment of having a degree in my hand, a huge moment of accomplishment that my family can celebrate,” she said.
Lunow said she’s eager to see her instructors and friends, as well as the place that helped her get to where she is now.
“ I would like to walk through the halls of the department I graduated from and simply remind myself of how thankful I am for that time in my life.”