COLUMBIA — In a small section in the upper east corner of Hearnes Center, family members leaned forward in their seats, hands curled around posters and eyes trained on the stage below them.
Honors College: 8:30 a.m., Jesse Auditorium. Speaker: Larry McMullen, MU alumnus and honorary degree recipient.
College of Human and Environmental Sciences & School of Social Work: 11:30 a.m., Jesse Auditorium. Speaker: Phil Bradley, former Major League Baseball player and assistant baseball coach of MU softball team.
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources: 12:30 p.m., Hearnes Center.
School of Health Professions: 2 p.m., Jesse Auditorium. Speaker: Ellis Ingram, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion.
College of Arts and Science: 3:30 p.m., Hearnes Center. Speaker: Justin Walensky, MU chemistry professor.
School of Natural Resources: 5 p.m., Jesse Auditorium. Speaker: Walter Bargen, former Poet Laureate of Missouri.
Graduate School: 6:30 p.m., Hearnes Center. Speaker: MU Provost Brian Foster and MU Interim Dean of the Graduate School Leona Rubin.
They surged out of their seats as the name blared from the speakers. Scott's immediate family was watching — her brother, her sister and her parents — as well as her aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, and in-laws. Through sheer volume, they tried to show how proud they were of Scott, 22, for graduating from MU with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
"It means a lot to the whole entire Scott family," Scott's mother, Sherell, said. "She's first to graduate from a university. That makes me feel just grand and grateful."
Shakera Scott is one of more than 2,300 students to receive degrees from MU this December. The Sinclair School of Nursing, the Trulaske College of Business, the Missouri School of Journalism and the College of Engineering held their commencement ceremonies Friday.
Despite slick roads and a constant downpour, ceremonies were packed with graduates, families, friends and well-wishers.
"It's a little cold, but no path is easy," said Lisa Kossover, a journalism graduate. "Especially from the Missouri Journalism School to Jesse Hall."
The journalism commencement speaker, MU alumna Margaret Engel, talked about the path of a journalist, as well. Quoting Carlos Castaneda, Engel said, "All paths lead nowhere, so it is important to choose a path that has heart."
Engel was the managing editor of the Newseum, a reporter for the Washington Post and The Des Moines Register, and a Nieman fellow at Harvard. She is also an author and playwright.
She encouraged the journalism graduates to keep evolving and to keep learning new things. Curiosity is a journalism graduate's best friend, she said.
"Keep Mizzou in mind and keep creating adventures for yourself," Engel said. "Don't get stuck."
In the Hearnes Center, commencement speaker Stuart Bascomb addressed about 120 Trulaske College of Business graduates waiting to receive their diplomas. Bascomb is an MU alumnus, the chairman and CEO of QualSight Inc., and the founder of Express Scripts Holding Co.
In his ending remarks, Bascomb showed how small-game strategies led to the success of this year's Missouri football team and how those strategies apply in the professional world.
He said the single-mindedness of the team to achieve its goal and the expertise, preparedness and confidence it displayed in reaching the SEC Championship game and the Cotton Bowl was an example to uphold.
For Amy Couch, graduating brings her one step closer to becoming producer of a TV news show.
"She's been destroying our video camera since age 10," said her father, Mark Couch.
Her grandfather, Dan, said he wishes one thing for Amy: "lots of luck."
"It's a nice world out there, so go out and find it," Dan Couch said, echoing Engel's commencement speech sentiments.
As a first-generation college graduate, commencement was a culmination of hard work and dedication for Shakera Scott. Graduating with a bachelor's degree means she can pursue anything she wants, her father, Victor Jordan, said.
"I hope she sticks with her plan of trying to to get her master's," Jordan said. "If she can do that, then sky's the limit for her. I want her to go as far as she can go."
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