As MU graduation comes to close, emphasis is on bonds formed

Sunday, May 18, 2014 | 2:21 p.m. CDT; updated 9:18 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 18, 2014
Sunday marked the third and final day of commencement ceremonies at MU. Among the day's events were the ROTC Commissioning of Officers and the hooding ceremony for doctoral candidates.

COLUMBIA — Kimberly David has spent countless hours with her doctoral supervisor, Wendy Reinke, an associate professor in the College of Education.

But that didn't prevent Reinke from having a few jitters before the culmination of their five years of work together Sunday. As David prepared for her commencement ceremony, Reinke was a little worried that she'd trip while trying to give David her doctoral hood.

"We put a lot of time and effort into our doctoral candidates so I can trip over her on stage," Reinke said.

David received her doctorate in school psychology, and she was one of 268 new MU graduates who received their doctorates. Many of these freshly minted PhDs were recognized in Jesse Auditorium on Sunday afternoon during the hooding ceremony for doctoral candidates.

During the ceremony, the doctoral candidates are hooded by their mentors, an act that symbolizes their becoming PhDs in their respective fields. The intimate nature of the ceremony helps reiterate the close bond that is formed between doctoral candidates and their mentors.

"This is just the culmination of many years of hard work and the celebration of reaching a certain level of quality and creativity," said Dave Pintel, a professor in the School of Medicine.

This bond was the focus of MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin's address to the doctoral candidates, and he encouraged graduates to consider mentoring themselves.

"You will receive more back as a mentor," he said. "Taking that person from one place to another enhances your intellect, and every single one has taught me something."

Sunday was the final day of commencement ceremonies at MU. Here is a look into the other ceremonies that took place:

ROTC Commissioning of Officers

Families and friends of former Air Force cadets gathered in MU's Memorial Student Union to witness the commissioning of officers. The ceremony honored ten cadets who took the Oath of Commissioned Officers and became Second Lieutenants in the Air Force.

After taking the oath, the officers' families pinned their new rank on their uniforms, and they received their first salute. Many of the officers chose family members or close friends who serve in the Air Force to perform their first salute, making the moment even more special.

Matthew Beckum just graduated from MU with a degree in atmospheric science and is starting a career in cyberspace operations.

"This is just really the start of the beginning of my career," he said.

He joined the Air Force to serve his country and explore the world. He will be stationed at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.

Nine other Second Lieutenants joined Beckum in taking their oaths Sunday, and they will begin their Air Force careers in areas such as nuclear and missile operations and special investigations across the country.

College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

The graduates of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources walked across the stage in front of a full Hearnes Center on Sunday morning.


Among the 403 graduates was Lizzie Anderson, 22, who graduated with a degree in animal science. She is hoping to apply to veterinary school next spring.


"Today is surreal for me," she said. "There have been a lot of challenges for me to get here, and now I finally get to walk across that stage."


Anderson is also getting married in June and shared the special moment with her fiance, Bryan Stark. He stood in the stands and cheered loudly as she received her diploma.


"She has worked really hard to get here," he said. "I'm just so proud of what she has done even with the craziness of planning a wedding."


U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler encouraged graduates to continue to innovate and discover in the world of agriculture.

"You are the new pioneers who will change the world — today and tomorrow," she said.

On Sunday, new graduates and families continued to celebrate MU commencement with ceremonies for graduates from the School of Law, Trulaske College of Business and master's and educational specialist candidates from the Graduate School.

Sunday marked the third and final day of MU gradation ceremonies. More than 5,300 students were honored over the course of the weekend.

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