OSU Institute of Technology’s upcoming commencement ceremony will be a full circle moment for many of the graduates. Nate C. Todd, director of Prospective Student Services, will serve as the keynote speaker. The campus will celebrate its 211th graduating class Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in Covelle Hall on the OSUIT campus.
For Todd, who has attended many commencement ceremonies during his career at OSUIT, this one will be special as he shakes the hands of students that he helped recruit as they walk across the graduation stage.
“It will be emotional because some of these students were told college was not for them. This university has literally changed lives, and these graduates have greatly impacted our university,” he said. “These are graduates that will make an immediate impact on the workforce and get paid well doing it. Just knowing that they allowed me to be a small part of their lives is amazing.”
Todd has proven successful at the recruitment and retention of students from various backgrounds and interests, something he has worked at since starting his career as a college women’s basketball coach.
He also leads OSUIT’s Diversity Initiative and has served on the Okmulgee County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee; City of Okmulgee Chamber board of directors; and the Oklahoma Military Child Education Coalition.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Cameron University and a master’s degree in college student personnel services from Arkansas State University.
“The most memorable moment from my graduation ceremonies is that my wife, Marcia, and I graduated at the same time from the same school for our masters. Hearing my children yell from the stands made the commitment all worthwhile,” Todd said. “Graduation was not just about me and my accomplishments, but it was about my whole family and how we are growing together.”
It’s a story familiar to many OSUIT graduates, Todd said.
Stephen Williams, who is graduating from the School of Visual Communications, will serve as the student respondent during the ceremony.
Williams, who is already a 20-year alumnus of OSUIT with an Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design, is earning his second degree, this time an Associate in Applied Science in Photography, and will serve as the student respondent.
“There was never a question about where I would go to school for photography. As a 1997 graduate from OSUIT’s Graphic Design program, I knew not only the stellar reputation of the program, but I also knew that I’d get exactly the education I was looking for without spending a big chunk of money,” he said.
Having worked in the industry already, Williams knew the value of the education he would receive going back to his alma mater.
“There’s nowhere better than OSUIT for getting into the workforce. All of the instructors in the School of Visual Communications have industry experience and that allows them to bring knowledge that you cannot get in any textbook or tutorial,” he said. “And in truth, the education that I got was so much better, so much more thorough and so much more applicable to the real world than I ever expected.”