Graduation is the pinnacle of every college student’s career and it’s something Bruce Force, director of Student Life, thinks about all year round.
At OSU Institute of Technology, graduation isn’t something that just comes around in the spring. Being on a trimester system means graduation happens three times a year.
“We stay in a state of perpetual graduation. It begins on the first day we get back,” Force said. “There’s a pretty detailed matrix we use and at the beginning of the trimester we get it out. We brief and debrief and talk about what we can do different and what we can do better.”
“Everything from scheduling the commencement speaker, to getting programs ready to waxing the floors at Covelle Hall, it’s all in the planning,” Force said.
“We do so much behind the scenes that people don’t realize,” he said, and it takes people from offices and areas all over campus including faculty, staff and administration to make the ceremony happen. “We have a small army that helps with this.”
All that work culminates Friday at Covelle Hall with the Nursing program’s pinning ceremony for its graduating class at 9 a.m., and then the graduation ceremony at 2 p.m.
The days leading up to the ceremonies are all about logistics, Force said. Getting the floors ready, getting chairs set up for the pinning ceremony and then graduation, making sure distinguished guests have their robes, students have their caps and gowns, and that the keynote speakers are prepared.
“We do everything we can on Wednesday and last minute things on Thursday,” he said, and by Friday evening he can finally take a breath. “It’s like a 1,000-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”
A big part of graduation is the speakers. In recent years there’s been a push to invite alumni back to speak to the graduating class.
“It’s very meaningful to our alumni and it’s also meaningful to the graduates out there listening to someone who has been there and hearing their story,” Force said. “They can say ‘My success is very attainable because look at where they have gone.’”
Choosing a student respondent is also a decision not made lightly. Faculty and staff nominate students, the graduation committee makes its selection and then President Bill Path gives final approval.
Ultimately all the work is worth it once those caps fly into the air, Force said.
“My favorite part is right after the ceremony is over. The pride beaming from the graduates’ faces, families taking pictures, the parents are so proud,” he said. “I always try to take a moment and take it all in.”
What: The 196th Graduating Class Commencement Ceremony
Where: Covelle Hall, on the south side of campus off Fourth Street.
When: Ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13. Doors will open for visitors at 12:45 p.m.
Parking: There are several large parking lots to the north and east of Covelle Hall.
Special Seating: If special accommodations are needed for family members or guests such as wheelchair seating or services for the hearing impaired, please contact Bruce Force at 918-293-5456 as soon as possible.
Photographs: A professional photographer will be taking graduation pictures. Those photos will be posted to the photographer’s website within two weeks of the ceremony. You can order photos online or directly from the photographer.