MU celebrates students' achievements at commencement ceremonies

Saturday, December 19, 2009 | 5:12 p.m. CST; updated 9:38 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 19, 2009
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The University of Missouri College of Natural Resources, College of Arts and Science and College of Engineering all hosted commencement ceremonies to present degrees to graduating students on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — A bittersweet sentiment mixed with excitement permeated MU's atmosphere Friday and Saturday as students took the stage to receive their diplomas.

Black robes and tassels abounded as family members, friends and loved ones gathered commencement weekend to celebrate the accomplishments of 2,144 students.

Over the weekend, MU held nine commencement ceremonies, awarding:

  • 1,455 bachelor's degrees;
  • 532 master's degrees;
  • 5 professional degrees; and
  • 162 doctoral degrees.

At the School of Natural Resources ceremony, commencement speaker and mayor Darwin Hindman told graduates they had reached a moment of distinct change.

"You came here today as students, but you will leave here today as alumni," he said.

Mark Palmer, a professor in the geography department, delivered the keynote address for the College of Arts and Science ceremony. He encouraged graduates to use their degrees to be active problem solvers.

"Seize the opportunities that life presents to you," he told the audience.

The atmosphere of graduation was best described by Michael O'Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science. "This is a great occasion; a celebration ... If you have an air horn this is a good time to check it," he said, laughing.

One woman, Jeannette White, worked 14 12-hour nursing shifts in a row so she could attend the College of Arts and Science commencement ceremony, where her goddaughter, Michelle Erin Williams, was awarded a dual degree in psychology and sociology.

"I am very excited," she said.

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