Stephens College commencement ceremony recognizes students, teachers

Saturday, May 4, 2013 | 5:10 p.m. CDT; updated 6:47 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 4, 2013
More than 140 Stephens College undergraduates received their bachelor's degrees Saturday at the Missouri Theatre.

COLUMBIA — Of the 148 undergraduates who graduated from Stephens College on Saturday, only nine were Columbia locals.

Brittny Goran was one of them. Majoring in marketing and advertisement, Goran comes from a family of business people. Her family owns Goran Rentals, a company that rents out apartments in downtown Columbia.

During her time at Stephens, Goran was the director of Creative Ink, a student-run marketing firm for Columbia clients. She was in charge of managing the 12 women she was working with as well as the clients.

After she graduates, she will work as the marketing internship coordinator at Veterans United, where she will recruit and manage the new interns. She was an intern herself last year and has stayed with the company to continue to serve veterans.

But she would not have been able to get to where she is now without her education at Stephens College.

Stephens College had its undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday at the Missouri Theatre, where 148 students received bachelor's degrees. On Friday evening, 59 Stephens students received master's degrees and four received post-graduate degrees.

Last year, Stephens decided to break tradition and, instead of a keynote speaker, put together a video by the teachers for the students.

The video consisted of teachers saying their good wishes and goodbyes, students rejoicing in the bliss of their final projects being over and photos of the students at school events, performances and during everyday college life.

After the lights went back on and the white screen retracted back into the ceiling of the stage, Stephens College President Dianne Lynch approached the podium with tears running down her face and a red puffy nose.

She introduced Logan Weber, president of the student government association, who was the class speaker. Weber received the Jean Clinton Roeschlaub Alumnae Service Award for outstanding leadership and service.

Weber spoke about the class's favorite memories and firsts, including first opening nights, first home game, first concert, first fashion show and first horse show.

"Even though all of these firsts are very different, we all got to experience them together," she said.

Weber encouraged her classmates to take what they have learned during their studies as well as all of the memories they hold, and go out into the world.

"Let's go out and show the world what we are made of," she said.

The senior class presented Lynch with a senior gift, a $636.34 donation to Stephens College.

The Missouri Theatre was packed with family and friends who had traveled long distances to be there for their graduates, some even from Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

Although Stephens is an all-women college, men have been admitted in the past. Saturday was the graduation day of the last men who will receive bachelor's degrees from Stephens College. There were five men, including dancer Alex Clayton

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