Graduations are about endings and beginnings. The emotions of happiness and pride mix with the feelings of sadness as graduates say goodbye to faculty and friends.
That bittersweet experience was touched on by nearly everyone who spoke at the OSU Institute of Technology graduation ceremony Friday afternoon and the pinning ceremony for nursing school graduates earlier that same day.
“This is an emotional day because this is the culmination of all the hard work of our graduates,” said OSUIT President Bill R. Path during the graduation ceremony. “It’s a special day not only for our students, but for the parents and families as well.”
Lorena Wilkinson, student respondent who earned an Associate in Applied Science degree from the School of Watchmaking, said what struck her when she visited OSUIT was the welcoming atmosphere on the campus.
“No matter where you come from, OSUIT becomes your home away from home,” Wilkinson said during her speech. “The graduates sitting in this room have come from all different walks of life. Some of you are Okies born and bred, and some of you are from countries on the other side of the world. But you have all chosen OSUIT as your educational foundation for your future careers, and that ties each and every one of us here together.”
Keynote speaker Laurie Lunow, who graduated in 2011 with an A.A.S in Graphic Design and was the student respondent at her commencement ceremony, told the 195 graduates she knows exactly what they’re feeling sitting in the gymnasium in their caps and gowns.
“In the days to follow you will leap into your new world,” said Lunow, who is now an art director at marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi X. “It’s going to feel a bit like starting over. I don’t want you to be discouraged in the least because it is starting over on a whole other level.”
Wilkinson said in order to start their future, the graduates have to leave their home away from home, OSUIT.
“We are leaving this secure, supportive environment we’ve created of our friends, faculty and campus community. We will be adjusting to a new career, new city and maybe even a new state or country,” she said.
For the nursing students, their ceremony also involved their families, who participate by pinning the graduate.
“I can see the tears are already starting to flow,” said Path at the start of the pinning ceremony. “These nursing pinning ceremonies are one of the most emotional experiences here on campus.”
The sacrifices made by the students during the rigorous program, as well the sacrifices made by their families and friends, were recognized during the ceremony.
“They are going on to do amazing things and be heroes in the healthcare field,” Path said. “We are exceedingly proud of these graduates.”
Holly Lincoln, the pinning ceremony’s student respondent, said she and her classmates bonded as they worked through the two-year program taking tests, learning procedures and going through clinicals, all so they could help others.
“The patients are the reason we went through this crazy program,” Lincoln said. “We get to be the ones with you when you’re scared. We laugh with you, we cry with you, we comfort you.”
During Lunow’s commencement address at the graduation ceremony, she gave the graduating class three pieces of advice she’s learned from her time in the workforce: always be thankful, enjoy the process, and be a giver.
“Graduates, today you are certainly not closing the book on learning, but simply beginning a new chapter. Be excited, be humble and have fun,” she said.