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MU School of Journalism sends off nearly 400 graduates

Friday, May 13, 2011 | 8:59 p.m. CDT; updated 1:35 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 14, 2011
Recent graduates are congratulated by their peers with high-fives as they return to their seats from the stage during the MU School of Journalism graduation on Friday at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — A band played selections from "The Sound of Music" as nearly 400 graduates from the MU School of Journalism adjusted their caps and tassels Friday evening at Mizzou Arena.

"It's a mix of excitement and nervousness for me right now," said Dan Cornfield, a graduate of the school's radio and television program. "But I'm looking forward to the future."

Jan Hicks, a mother of one of the graduates, began to tear up.

"She's our only one," she said. "We're going to miss her."

Hicks' daughter is headed to an internship with Betsey Johnson apparel in New York at the end of May. 

Associate Dean Brian Brooks opened by jokingly saying that in his 37 years of teaching journalism at MU, this was his favorite graduating class. 

Next to speak was the master of ceremonies, Alex Rozier, who introduced student speaker Kyle Stokes. Stokes told graduates when they say they want to make a difference, they should realize they have been doing so all along at MU.

"We don't have bright futures, we have bright presents," Stokes said.

Guest speaker Eduardo Ulibarri Bilbao, Costa Rica's ambassador to the United Nations and master's degree recipient from the School of Journalism, instructed graduates to "never cease learning." He said life is the continuance of education and if one tries hard enough, he or she can succeed.

"I'm looking forward to living my life and excited about what I can accomplish," said strategic communications graduate Whittley Jones. "I'm just that much closer to doing what I want and am passionate about."

"This still doesn't feel real," said Brittany Martensen, another strategic communications graduate. "I almost started crying when I put my gown on today. I can't believe four years is already gone like that. But I'm ready. Even though I'm really nervous right now, I'm ready."

Eduardo Ulibarri Bilbao, an MU alumnus, speaks to students during the commencement ceremony on Friday at Mizzou Arena. Bilbao is the ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Nations.
Students follow the tradition of linking arms and swaying as they sing the alma mater during the MU School of Journalism graduation on Friday in Mizzou Arena.
Soon-to-be graduates from the MU School of Journalism file into their seats before commencement on Friday.
Kate Kerans fixes her friend's tassel while waiting to be seated for the MU School of Journalism graduation ceremony on Friday.

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