DSU preps for graduationA sense of excitement, nervousness, anticipation and accomplishment cloud the Dickinson State University campus as faculty, staff and students transition into final exam week and prepare for graduation celebration.
By: Sean M. Soehren, The Dickinson Press
A sense of excitement, nervousness, anticipation and accomplishment cloud the Dickinson State University campus as faculty, staff and students transition into final exam week and prepare for graduation celebration.
The University’s 91st Commencement proceedings on Saturday will feature a keynote address from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities President Muriel A. Howard and an honorary degree bestowed to the late former Rep. Frank Wald of Dickinson.
“Commencement is always a grand day,” DSU President Richard McCallum said. “It’s always an exciting and wonderful occasion and we look forward to it with great pleasure.”
The university expects to graduate 451 students from 23 states and 13 foreign countries. The number of graduates is down from the 2010 school year, 683, but higher than five years ago when 380 students completed their degrees.
However, Director of Academic Records Marshall Melbye said the number may change. He said some anticipated graduates may not meet the requirements due to final test scores, but the number could increase because of online students, completion during summer school and international students returning home to complete exams.
“I anticipate it to go up,” Melbye said about graduation numbers.
During the ceremony, the speech from Howard will address “The American Century” and what the future holds for this year’s graduates in the face of an increasingly global economy and shifting global priorities.
“I am looking forward to delivering the commencement address at Dickinson State University,” Howard said. “I always experience a sense of renewal when I have the opportunity to visit one of our campuses and to connect with AASCU members, their faculty, staff and students. I’m especially proud to share this special day with families and the university community.”
Named AASCU president in April 2009, Howard was the first female president and the first African-American to head one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C.
Howard has been involved with AASCU for many years and is an advocate for public higher education at the national level. She was formerly the president of Buffalo State College, State University of New York and has served on many professional boards.
DSU Faculty Senate President Steve Doherty said she is very accomplished in her career and he expects her to give great insight.
McCallum was delighted and honored the university could also acknowledge the leadership of recently deceased education supporter Frank Wald with an honorary degree.
“We are very pleased to be able to recognize Wald for his years of dedicated service not only to DSU, but also our community, western North Dakota and the entire state,” he said.
Wald served 30 years in the legislature and was always a proponent for the advancement of DSU and most recently was an advocate for the university library project.
Doherty was pleased and hopeful as he reflected on the achievements of the university this academic year.
“We have had some interesting things that have been accomplished,” he said citing innovative classes, a new athletic stadium and the Theodore Roosevelt Center. “We are probably a little disappointed some of the other initiatives, like the library, aren’t happening as quickly as we would like, but we have confidence they will.”
Howard commended the
“The campus community has much to be proud of as it provides leadership for southwestern North Dakota,” she said. “Dickinson State is a learning and teaching-centered university that also supports regional advancement.”
To some students the commencement ceremony signifies completion, but Doherty said they are really just getting started.
“To this point, many of them may think of graduation as the day they are done, while actually it is often just a beginning,” he said. “I would hope that they would realize these are the things that are going to carry them through the rest of their lives. I hope that students don’t think of classes as simply things they needed checked off a checklist. Every class, every lecture and everything they did is something that will resonate throughout their career and life and I hope we prepared them very well for every challenge.”