More than 120 career-ready graduates will walk across the stage at OSU Institute of Technology’s 217th Commencement ceremony Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. in Covelle Hall.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration of graduates has been modified to deliver an event that holds the same traditions of pomp and circumstance with the safety and well-being of the campus community in mind.
The fall 2020 commencement exercise will be held as a private function only with no guests; Covelle Hall will be closed to the public, and only graduating students and the platform party will be permitted entry.
The ceremony, however, will be streamed live to the OSUIT Facebook page and made available for on-demand viewing on OState.TV and the OSUIT website so that friends and family may see their graduate crossing the stage and share in that moment.
Changes to the staging and processionals will also be made to enforce social distancing, such as spaced seating and the requirement of facial coverings. All graduates will be provided an OSUIT facial covering for the ceremony. Other contactless options will be integrated into the overall experience.
Tara Cole, OSUIT Communications faculty, will serve as this year’s keynote speaker. Cole has been with OSUIT for four years but has taught communications and writing courses since 2007 at various universities in Oklahoma. She received the NISOD Award for Teaching Excellence in 2019 and the Regents Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020. Along with her teaching experience, she has also published several books including “Abide: 40 Ways to Focus on Jesus Daily,” that included a cover design by one of OSUIT’s Graphic Design Technology students.
“I love working with and supporting my students to enable them to get one step closer to their goals,” said Cole. “I am honored to be chosen as the December graduation speaker. It is my privilege to address our students one more time before they leave our campus.”
Cole has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Freed-Hardeman University and a Master of Arts in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Jyson Jeri (Jay) Bryson, who will serve as this year’s student respondent, is graduating from the School of Creative & Information Technologies with a Bachelor of Technology in Information Technologies with a discipline in Cybersecurity Digital Forensics and Network Infrastructure and an Associate in Science in Information Technologies.
While attending OSUIT, he was a member of the Student Government Organization, Association of Information Technology Professionals, Phi Theta Kappa and Student Transitional Development Xtreme.
Bryson currently works for NTech Collaborative, a local IT company that provides direct services for the Tulsa Area United Way. There, he assists multiple agencies with IT solutions so that they can help support individuals who are less fortunate.
“I've enjoyed my time at OSUIT, especially the environment,” said Bryson. “I was surrounded by positive people all the time. People on the campus made me feel like I was at home.”
Bryson said he chose to attend OSUIT for the small classroom structure, one-on-one time with faculty experts and the overall positive energy he experiences every time he is on campus.
“I hope my speech inspires people to take that extra step in life,” he said. “Whether it's to achieve another degree, to start a new business or something that doesn't seem possible at all. Take that chance and don't have regrets about it.”
Jay plans to continue his educational pathway and seek a master’s in Management and Information Systems at OSU Stillwater.
OSUIT’s Institutional Event Planning Committee, in coordination with the Pandemic Response Team, is meeting regularly to monitor and assess the situation in accordance with local and national health guidance.
For more information or updates regarding the 217th commencement ceremonies, please visit osuit.edu/commencement.