More than 200 students walked across the graduation stage on Friday afternoon during OSU Institute of Technology’s 200th commencement ceremony.
Dr. Glen D. Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education, delivered the commencement address to the graduating class.
“The emphasis here is where it should be ─ on the students’ needs and their success after they leave,” Johnson said. “You are graduating from one of the most significant institutions in our system.”
It’s important to evaluate your career options and personal options, Johnson said, adding that the decision to attend OSUIT was a wise one.
“This institution has provided you with a solid foundation, now you can build on that foundation,” he said.
Andrew Cook, who graduates with an Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Graphics and Design/Drafting Technology, was the student respondent.
“I came to OSUIT with two goals: equip myself for a career that I would enjoy every day and to provide for my growing family,” said Cook, who moved to Okmulgee from South Carolina with his wife and two children just to attend the university. “It felt risky, maybe even a little foolish, but I can honestly say it was worth it, and my experience here far exceeded my expectations.”
Of the 209 students who earned their degrees Friday, 67 percent of them graduated with honors.
OSUIT also held a pinning ceremony Friday morning for the graduates from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.
“We’re in the midst of change. We’ve got to be innovative and be able to grow and adapt,” he said. “Those with college degrees are the most engaged and become our leaders.”
Johnson told the graduates to dream big and to not get discouraged when they encounter bumps in the road.
“Your success is measured by the whole picture, not one moment,” he said, and earning a degree at OSUIT is great element of that picture. “This is a very special place. You have seen lifelong learning occur, you have seen this is a place of possibility where students can realize their hopes and dreams.”
Cook said what he found at OSUIT was opportunity, and he already looks back at his time at the institute as a great memory.
“Graduates, the opportunity you and I found here doesn’t end once we receive our diploma today, but rather is a catalyst that can take you as far as you let it,” he said. “OSUIT prepared me for the job that I’ve obtained through my internship at KAMO Power in Vinita. My education has also given my family something that is invaluable, a sense of security for years to come.”