UPDATE: MU students, families celebrate commencement ceremonies Saturday

Saturday, May 17, 2014 | 8:27 p.m. CDT; updated 12:57 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 18, 2014
Students in the Honors Convocation* celebrated their graduation from MU at Mizzou Arena on Saturday.

*CORRECTION: MU students graduating with honors attended the Honors Convocation on Saturday morning. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the title of this ceremony.

COLUMBIA — More than a hundred medical students took the Declaration of Geneva on Saturday, marking the end of their medical education at MU.

Sunday commencements

Commencement ceremonies will continue Sunday. They are:

  • College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources: 10 a.m. at Hearnes Center
  • School of Law: 12:30 p.m. at Jesse Auditorium
  • ROTC Commissioning of Officers: 1 p.m. in Stotler Lounge
  • Truslaske College of Business: 2 p.m. at Hearnes Center
  • Graduate School, hooding ceremony for doctoral candidates: 4 p.m. at Jesse Auditorium
  • Graduate School, Master's and Educational Specialist candidates: 7 p.m. at Hearnes Center


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The oath, which is said by all medical graduates, requires physicians to not use "medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity."

This group and thousands of other MU students celebrated their graduation this weekend, with more than 5,300 students receiving degrees. Saturday's festivities began with the Honors Convocation*, and the College of Engineering, School of Heath Professions, School of Medicine, School of Natural Resources and the College of Arts and Science held ceremonies later in the day.

On Friday, the College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Education, College of Human Environmental Sciences, Sinclair School of Nursing and the School of Journalism had their commencement ceremonies.

Here is a glimpse into some of Saturday's ceremonies:

Honors Convocation*

Hundreds of students and families gathered in the Mizzou Arena for the Honors Convocation early Saturday morning.

Jim McKelvey, a St. Louis native and co-founder of Square, a mobile payment company, offered a dose of reality but also posed an important challenge.

McKelvey joked that the days of praise for graduates are over: No longer would points be tallied or grades received. Despite this, he challenged the honors graduates to find a problem in the world to drive them to fill the void that a lack of praise leaves.

"What was impossible yesterday or last week might be solvable; it just needs a champion," McKelvey said.

The ceremony also honored this year's honorary degree recipient, Jim Held. Held restored the Stone Hill Winery in Hermann and turned it into the oldest and most prominent winery in Missouri. His efforts have brought life back into the Missouri winery industry. He was presented with the degree by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

"I've experienced many wonderful days in my 80 years, and this is one of the best," Held said.

All honors graduates received a bronze medallion cast of the columns to recognize their accomplishments.

School of Medicine

MU medical students took photos in front of the MU Columns and on the steps of Jesse Hall before they received their degrees and became physicians.

The family-focused ceremony took place at Jesse Auditorium on Saturday afternoon, with speakers encouraging graduates to thank their family and friends for their support. Class speaker John Cummins spoke about the importance of asking for help and realizing your own humanity once becoming a doctor.

"I know every single person is going to be a phenomenal doctor," he said. "But we aren't inherently well, and we are often as broken as the patients in front of us. Sometimes we need help, too."

MU alumnus and commencement speaker Alexander Garza focused on the evolution of medicine, the importance of human interaction and preparation. He is also the associate dean of public health practice and a professor of epidemiology at the Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice.

"Chance favors the prepared mind," Garza said. "Always be prepared to accept the opportunities that are put in front of you, even if by mistake."

College of Arts and Science

Graduates of the College of Arts and Science walked across the stage in front of a full crowd at Hearnes Center on Saturday night.

Among the graduates was Annie Martin, 22, who graduated with a degree in political science. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.

"I can't believe that, after four years, this moment is about to happen," she said. "You work your whole educational career to get here, and then suddenly you're graduating. It is scary and exciting at the same time."

Her mother, Donna Martin, was just as excited to share in her daughter's moment.

"It's just amazing that she is going to walk across that stage after years of hard work," she said. "I'm just so proud of everything that today means."

Annie Martin wasn't sure if she will apply to law school or pursue another career in her field, but she was hopeful for the future.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do exactly but I'm eager to begin the journey," she said.

Commencement speaker Tim Wolfe, UM System President and MU alumnus, encouraged graduates to not settle, to learn something new each day and to take risks. Above all, he hoped that they would enjoy what today means.

"I just want you to savor this moment," he said. "Be proud of this moment at least for a little bit."

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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