Graduates file in

Graduation participants file into the Convocation Center.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

Lynn Harter

Lynn Harter, the 2009 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award winner and the Steven and Barbara Schoonover Professor of Health Communication, delivered the commencement address.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell


Graduate school graduates stand during the commencement exercises.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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Graduate student commencement looks to past, forward to future

More than 700 participate in commencement exercises

Community, laughter and a few whoops of celebration were in the air on Friday, June 10, as OHIO conferred graduate degrees on more than 700 men and women during the graduate student commencement exercises.

In his address to the graduates, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis said aloud the thoughts of many participants.

"Your diploma is more than a piece of paper," he said. "It is a symbol of your achievement, commitment and discipline. It represents what you have learned and how you have grown."

The event began at 9:30 a.m., when the Ohio University Wind Ensemble broke into "Pomp and Circumstance," heralding the graduates entering the Convocation Center. Commencement was convened by C. Robert Kidder, vice chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees.

"As a trustee of Ohio University, I am privileged to convene this, the 256th commencement, and to welcome the graduates who are being honored today, members of their families and their friends," said Kidder.

McDavis then recognized distinguished guests before turning the podium over to Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit who recognized and greeted OHIO's faculty members.

Tracy Kelley, a first-year graduate student and president of Graduate Student Senate, greeted the class of 2010. Her hopeful speech honored the spirit of curiosity, community and camaraderie that is present at Ohio University.

"You've volunteered your time, shared your scholarship and contributed immeasurably to the quality of our institution, all while living lives too rich and diverse to be addressed in any celebratory speech," Kelly said.

The graduates were welcomed into the 200,000-strong community of OHIO alumni by Chair of the Alumni Association Dennis Minichello.

"You are, and always will be, Bobcats forever," he said. "Imagine that. No strings attached. No preconditions. No fine print. Just Bobcats forever."

Awards for the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Awards were distributed by Kent Smith, vice president for student affairs. The 2010 Distinguished Professor was named by McDavis and the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member was named by Benoit.

Lynn Harter, the 2009 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award winner and the Steven and Barbara Schoonover Professor of Health Communication, offered the graduates perspective on scholars' places in the world with her commencement address.

"As one journey ends and another begins, I urge you to reinvent the role of the public intellectual," she advised. "I ask you to bring your disciplinary sensibilities to relational encounters with others so that all participants can name their worlds in order to change them."

The breadth of its diversity distinguished the graduating class. Students from across the globe, of all ages, specialties and personal backgrounds crossed the stage.

McDavis acknowledged this wealth of experience in his address to the class of 2010.

"Some of you took a traditional approach to your studies, beginning your graduate program immediately after graduating from college," he said. "Others took a different path, working or starting a family before enrolling at Ohio University."

Though the graduates were as different as their research interests, they did share one thing in common - the support of others.

"They were there for you every step of the way, believing in you and encouraging you when you, yourself, may have had some doubts," said McDavis.

The graduates have taken many different routes to their degrees.
Joel Greenlee, who earned his master's in coaching education, has served as OHIO's head wrestling coach for the past 13 years.

Greenlee started a master's degree in 1989 at the University of Northern Iowa. But when work and family responsibilities postponed his degree, Greenlee decided to start over at Ohio University.
"I'm happy to be done with it. I finally completed it, and I'll see what the future holds," Greenlee said.

Many graduates haven't spent quite as much time on campus as Greenlee.

Josh Taylor, who earned his degree from the Professional Master's of Business Administration program, said it took him two years of hard work - attending class on Wednesdays in Columbus and weekends once a month while working full-time. He said his MBA has already led to a promotion at work. Although he lives and works in Columbus, Taylor came to love the trips to Athens once a month.

"The program is beautiful because you can do it while you're working," he said. "It's something I always wanted to do, and the company I work for reimbursed some of the tuition so it became a matter of finding the time to do it."

Devotion to the university and to their field of study was a common theme among the graduates.

Michael Adeyanju, former Student Senate president at Ohio University, earned his master's degree in public administration. He said he will work for the Board of Regents this month, and in December, he will start a one-year fellowship with a state legislator.

"It is a great day, and I'm glad to share it with my fellow classmates," Adeyanju said. "It's been a quick five years, and it's crazy to think how time has flown. I've seen the institution get better and better. I'm looking forward to seeing what it does in the next five to 20 years."

Graduate student commencement 2010 awards

During the 2010 graduate student commencement President Roderick J. McDavis announced Charles Smith, head of the university's professional playwriting program, is the 2010 Distinguished Professor. The award recognizes scholarly accomplishment, professional reputation and contribution to the university.

Awardees receive a lifetime designation, one quarter of professional leave and the privilege of annually naming one undergraduate student to receive the university's Distinguished Professor Scholarship.

Smith, playwright in residence at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, primarily focuses his plays on race, identity and politics. His works have been produced off-Broadway and around the nation, and his upcoming play, "The Gospel According to James," will make its world premiere at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in March.

Greg Kessler, assistant professor of computer assisted language learning, was named as the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award recipient during the ceremony. The award is given to a professor who demonstrates exemplary performance as an instructor, research and faculty member.

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said Kessler was recognized for developing instructional materials for use with new technologies and preparing teachers and students to use them in their instruction. She praised him for ensuring that students receive hands-on-learning experience with the newest technologies and software. He has taught teacher preparation courses and programs around the world and is widely published, has authored software and made presentations at academic conferences around the world.

Kent Smith, vice president for student affairs, announced the recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Awards. William A. Young II was named the Outstanding Doctoral Student Leader for 2010 because of his community involvement and scholarship. He received first place in the electrical engineering and computer science category at the 2009 Student Research and Creative Activity Expo. He received his doctorate in mechanical and systems engineering from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

Smith also announced Titus Gwemende as the winner of the Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Award. He was recognized for his involvement in the Communication and Development Association and African Student Union. He also spearheaded fundraising efforts for Haiti earthquake victims. He earned a master's degree in communication and development studies from the Center for International Studies.