SIU President Randy Dunn, left, greets an SIUE graduate with SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, right.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe oversaw four 2014 Spring Commencement exercises during the weekend in the Vadalabene Center on campus. The festivities began with the Graduate School, School of Business and School of Nursing students receiving their degrees Friday night. The remainder of the 2,231 eligible graduates received their degrees during three ceremonies Saturday.
Newly installed SIU President Dr. Randy Dunn participated in his first commencement ceremonies by speaking at the Friday night exercise. “My hope for all of you is to use all that you have gained at SIUE to change and improve the lives of all whom you encounter for the rest of your life,” he said. “Transform others for the better just as SIUE has transformed you.”
Furst-Bowe provided the assemblage with a quote from highly successful businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone. He said, “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”
“Whether you’re a student, a parent, a leader, a community resident … whatever your role, your attitude will determine the tone of your life and achievements,” Furst-Bowe said. “Set your sights high, work to maintain a healthy focus on what’s true and positive, and you’ll find that success comes to you.”
Alton attorney and philanthropist John Simmons was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Simmons, who graduated with honors from SIUE in political science, earned a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas. He is founder and chairman of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a national law firm headquartered in Alton, with additional offices in St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco and El Segundo, Calif.
With an entertaining presentation that described his rise from originally being rejected as an SIUE student to chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees 20 years later, Simmons provided a road map for success.
“Be grateful and support someone who helped you get here,” said Simmons, as he credited former SIUE Chancellor Dr. David Werner for the foundation of his remarks. “Help others by sharing your knowledge and experience. Be ethical, because one falsehood spoils a thousand truths. Never give up as you maintain your conviction to honor and good sense.”
Dixie Engelman, dean emerita of the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor emerita of speech pathology and audiology, was honored with the University’s Distinguished Service Award. Engelman has been a community advocate and volunteer for more than 35 years. Engelman spoke to the Saturday afternoon and evening sessions.
Engelman encouraged the grads to not only continue reading in their respective disciplines, but also take time for personal interests. “Reading will calm your mind, take you places you never dreamed and bring laughter on an ordinary day,” she said.
Dr. Kelly Gable, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy, received the 2014 Teaching Excellence Award. Gable was recognized for her enthusiastic approach and for serving as a role model for pharmacy students, nursing students and medical students. Gable will speak at the December commencement ceremony.
Peter Gillen, who earned a bachelor’s in nursing, was the student speaker for Friday’s session.
“In these few short years, we have never stopped learning and we never will stop learning,” said Gillen. “There is always something more you can learn whether it be from a fellow nurse, physician, patient or maybe even a nursing student.
“It is quite incredible to think of how much we have achieved in our time here. Let us not stop here, though. We should continue to strive to be the best in our field, no matter what the future holds for us.”
Ceremonies resumed Saturday morning with the Graduate School and School of Education. The morning student speaker was James Engracia, who received a bachelor’s in speech language pathology from the School of Education.
Engracia encouraged grads to “explore the world, enjoy and do different things. Taking all of the opportunities that life offers you will allow you to grow unimaginable feats. My mentors told me to be flexible. We may not get everything we desire like the job or grad school we want. Be flexible and keep an open mind to other opportunities that may come your way, because you never know where that door will lead.”
The Saturday afternoon ceremony featured the College of Arts and Sciences. Victoria Francis, who earned a bachelor’s in chemistry, encouraged her classmates to make a difference. “An entire world stands before us, waiting for us to make it better,” she said. “Maybe we will solve world hunger, end homelessness or develop a new foreign policy. Some of us will save lives, teach young children or become our future politicians.
“The possibilities are endless, but we don’t know what we are capable of until we try, until we lay it all on the line. So, let’s go forth and start a new legacy that the SIUE Class of 2014 made a difference.”
The School of Pharmacy, College of Arts and Science graduate students and the School of Engineering closed Saturday’s exercises. The student speaker was Jonathan Long, who received a master’s in sociology.
Long dispensed seven jewels of advice. “Embrace opportunity, be confident in yourself and get involved,” he stated. “Building a good reputation builds you to success, find your motivation, be determined and realize that every chance is a foundation of opportunity.
“Follow SIUE’s mission statement – shape a changing world for you and for others.”
This article is from http://www.siue.edu/.