OSU Institute of Technology will graduate nearly 400 students this Friday, delivering much needed relief for companies seeking highly-skilled technicians, bridging the nation’s skills gap.
OSUIT’s summer commencement will recognize its 198th graduating class with two ceremonies. The first begins at 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 22 in Covelle Hall, located at 1801 E. 4th Street, in Okmulgee.
Automotive Technologies and Heavy Equipment and Vehicle Institute will join together for a 7 p.m. ceremony held later that evening and in the same building.
Physics instructor Mark Rodriguez will serve as the keynote speaker for both ceremonies.
“It’s a great honor to address the graduates and their families and guests,” he said.
Rodriguez has been an instructor at OSUIT for nearly a decade and has become a favorite of students and teachers alike. He was named a Regents Distinguished Educator by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, as well as a National Institute for Staff and Organization Development (NISOD) Excellence Award Winner.
“I want to be relevant to the future each graduate will face,” he said, but he’s not really nervous about addressing a gym full of people— twice. “After making plans for so many things in life and then realizing they won’t work as planned, I found being flexible and going with whatever needs to be done saves a lot of grief and disappointment.”
While it’s unusual for most college and universities to have a summer commencement, OSUIT’s summer graduating class is typically the largest.
“It is quite the process with a lot of hands on deck,” said Bruce Force, Director of Student Life. “This is without a doubt a more challenging time than the fall and spring ceremonies due to the number of graduates and guests we have on campus.”
This year’s student respondents are Megan Marie Palmer, a Muskogee native graduating with an Associate in Applied Science from the School of Culinary Arts and George Inekiengha Eben-Spiff, an international student from Nigeria, graduating with an Associate in Applied Science from the ProTech program in Automotive Technologies.
“All of the graduation committee’s hard work is worth it after those names are called one by one,” Force said. “After each ceremony, I try to take time to look at the crowd and see the families who are gathered with their graduates and see the incredible happiness and joy they are experiencing.”