The 217th graduating class walked the stage at OSU Institute of Technology while friends and family watched and cheered them on virtually during the fall 2020 ceremony. The livestreamed event took place Dec. 22 at 2 p.m., following the Nursing pinning ceremony at 10 a.m.
OSUIT President Bill R. Path welcomed the graduates and recognized the graduating class's honors. Of the 202 students who graduated in this ceremony, 54.7% graduated with honors: 53 graduating Cum Laude, 24 Magna Cum Laude and 23 Summa Cum Laude.
Rick Davis, chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, acknowledged that even though this was not a typical commencement ceremony, it was important to recognize the graduates’ achievements and reflect on the impact of OSUIT.
"While I know this ceremony looks and feels different than we would prefer, we are all grateful to have the opportunity to recognize your academic achievements," said Davis. "For many of us, our time at OSU played a critical role in our lives. Whether it was learning skills for our future careers, taking advantage of leadership opportunities on campus, or making friends that will last a lifetime, OSU has made an impact on each of us. Today we recognize just how important our time at OSU is to all of us."
Tara Cole, a communications instructor in the School of Arts, Sciences & Health, addressed the graduates by dispelling three myths and providing three tools before they leave campus.
"Myth No. 1: I have to pull myself up by my bootstraps. Hard work is very important, but going at life alone is very hard. Community matters," she encouraged. "Myth No. 2: I have to look out for myself. Few beliefs can hurt you more in the workplace. Instead, genuine service is the way to success. And finally, myth No. 3: now that I'm graduated, I'm finished learning. Keep seeking to be a lifelong learner, and make your success better. Seeking to learn and improve continually will take you far."
She closed by acknowledging what a challenging year it has been, "You should be proud of yourself and all that you have accomplished this year. When you face hard times, remind yourself that you graduated from college in one of the hardest years our country has experienced in a long time; you are capable of facing whatever comes your way."
Student respondent Jyson (Jay) Bryson, a graduate of the School of Creative & Information Technologies, followed Cole with a lesson he learned in 2020.
"Never give up on your goals, no matter how big or small they are," said Bryson. "During the time of quarantine, I thought deeply about giving up on the individual goals that I have set for myself. Then I realized all the people that believed in my goals and all the time that I would waste when I came so far to accomplish them. It would be disrespectful for me to stop now. So I decided, every day, I would wake up with a positive mentality and keep pushing toward my goals day by day. I'm still working on these goals to this very day."
He closed with a reminder to graduates that their goal doesn't only affect them but also others.
"Others may look up to you as a role model, and having those goals can motivate them," he said. "So keep pushing, don't stop, no matter what the circumstances are. It's never easy to put in the work, but you'll never know what you'll be able to achieve if you stop now."
The commencement ceremonies can be viewed on demand on the OSUIT website.