The excited cheers and shouts of friends and family filled the Dunn Center as APSU’s 86th Commencement ceremony awarded more than 300 graduates with their degrees on Friday, Aug. 7.
Of these graduates were Cory Keller, Austin Siders, Aaron Taylor and Cara Upton who are the first students at APSU to graduate with Professional Science and Management degrees.
Upton, who recently accepted a position at iVantage Health Analytics, served as the student marshal for the College of Graduate Studies and carried the gonfalon decorated with the symbol of her college ahead of the other graduates receiving degrees from the same discipline.
Student marshals are “…students selected for academic excellence in their discipline,” according to the 86th Commencement bulletin distributed to all who attended the ceremony.
Following the conferring of degrees to the graduates of the College of Graduate Studies by Mike Gotcher, Interim Dean of the same college, Gotcher said, “Upton, with her infectious positive attitude, strong work ethic and excellent academic record, exemplifies the spirit of [APSU].”
Following the 112 College of Graduate Studies graduates were the 24 graduates from the College of Arts and Letters presented by Dixie Webb, dean of the same college.
Andre Parker served as the College of Arts and Letters’ student marshal and gonfalon bearer.
Webb praised Parker for his commitment and eagerness to volunteer.
“His commitment started the day he set foot on campus,” said Webb. “It is this passion and commitment that defines him as a person.”
The College of Behavioral and Health Sciences followed after, with the college’s dean, David Denton, presenting the 78 graduates.
Antonia Stevenson served as the student marshal and gonfalon bearer for this college. Denton praised her for her “positive and supportive attitude.”
Following the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences were the 23 graduates from the College of Business presented by college dean William Rupp.
Francisco Vasquez served as the student marshal and gonfalon bearer for the College of Business.
Vasquez retired in 2013 after 21 years of military service and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. Rupp praised Vasquez for his “standard of excellence,” and said Vasquez will earn his Masters Degree, “in record time.”
Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, Jaime Taylor, presented the next 44 graduates from the same college.
Joseph Garrett served as the student marshal and gonfalon bearer for this college.
Taylor praised Garrett for selfless attitude.
“[Garrett] chose Nuclear Medicine by trial and error…” said Taylor. “Health care is a vast field with many opportunities centered around one main goal: helping care for people.”
William Cox, dean of the School of Technology and Public Management, presented the 111 graduates from the same school.
Donna Bates served as the student marshal and gonfalon bearer for this school.
Bates attributes her success in owning her own bakery to the APSU culinary program.
Cox praised Bates for her military service and maintaining a 4.0 GPA during her college career.
The 87th Commencement ceremony is set to be held on December 11 at 9 a.m.