Students, families bask in accomplishments at MU commencement ceremonies

Friday, May 16, 2014 | 7:40 p.m. CDT; updated 7:48 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 16, 2014
The 100-plus members of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine who graduated Friday afternoon now join the ranks of more than 99,000 veterinarians nationwide and will use skills learned at MU to practice veterinary medicine on both small and large animals. These new veterinarians were the first of more than 5,300 MU students who will celebrate their graduation this weekend in ceremonies across campus.

COLUMBIA — Before she could pose for any graduation photos Friday afternoon, Melissa Ryder had her sister help her with a swift application of lipstick. 

As Melissa Ryder got ready in the front seat of her car, with her legs hanging out of the open passenger door and her graduation gown half-on, her mother reflected on her daughter's achievement.

"I'm very happy she's starting her life, but it's sad that her college career is ending," Debby Ryder said.

Hours later, Melissa Ryder would officially mark the end of her college education as she walked in the School of Journalism commencement ceremony. She joined thousands of other MU students who will celebrate their graduation in ceremonies across campus over the weekend.

The MU College of Veterinary Medicine held the first ceremony Friday afternoon in Jesse Auditorium. Mark Summers, one of the 100-plus new graduates of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said he will miss the people he's met while studying at MU but is happy to be moving forward from some of the challenges of vet school.

"Trying to balance school and family. I have two boys. I'd say that's been the toughest part, trying to balance it all," he said.

Across campus at Mizzou Arena, approximately 300 students graduated from the MU College of Education. For some, teaching had been passion they developed long before coming to MU. 

"When I was a kid, I used to teach my stuffed animals," Katie Considine said before rushing to get in line with her fellow graduates. 

More than 5,300 students will be graduating from MU this semester, many of whom will walk in the 17 commencement ceremonies that take place through Sunday.

But outside of the formal ceremonies, many graduating students and their family members spent a sunny afternoon on Francis Quadrangle, where they took pictures and relaxed. Some had more reason to celebrate than others, such as Alessandra and Don Aulbert. Earlier in the day, before their son Donald Aulbert's graduation, they found out he had landed a job offer as a teacher at Van-Far High School.

"It's really made this day like a two-for-one bonus," his father said. 

Not all students had their future plans set, though. Travis Hollowood, who graduated from the College of Education earlier in the day, said he already felt the pressure of unemployment from his mother. 

"We've just got to get him a job now, so we can take him off our payroll," Deb Hollowood joked. 

Despite his mother's sentiments, Travis Hollowood only felt one thing when he grabbed his diploma.

"Relief. It was kind of rocky at times, but I made it through."

Commencement ceremonies at MU continue through Sunday. Saturday's ceremonies include:

  • Honors ceremony: 8:30 a.m. at Mizzou Arena
  • School of Medicine: Noon at Jesse Auditorium
  • College of Engineering: 1 p.m. at Hearnes Center
  • School of Health Professions: 4 p.m. at Mizzou Arena
  • School of Natural Resources: 5:30 p.m. at Jesse Auditorium
  • College of Arts and Science: 7 p.m. at Hearnes Center

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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