Gleeful relief

Graduates rejoice as their MU careers come to a close.
Sunday, December 21, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:11 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As Barbara Cirkl walked across the stage of the Missouri Theatre to receive her industrial engineering degree Saturday, she turned to the audience and yelled, “I did it finally!”

Cirkl was one of more than 1,900 MU students who received their walking papers from the university on Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Human Environmental Sciences along with the schools of Law, Engineering, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Food and Natural Resources and Business recognized their graduating students. The Sinclair School of Nursing, the School of Journalism and the College of Education held ceremonies on Friday.

About 150 engineering students joined Cirkl in placing orange tassels on the left side of their faces Saturday.

Mary Carlson, an MU alumna and a Six Sigma Master Black Belt at 3M, addressed the College of Engineering graduates. She said they have “quite a versatile career path ahead,” whether it be graduate school, employment or finding themselves.

Carrie Lamm, a newly minted MU law graduate, posed for a “Charlie’s Angels”-inspired picture with her nieces outside Hulston Hall after the Law School’s graduation. The three “angels” pointed their index fingers toward the sky as if their fingers were guns.

Lamm was one of nine graduates who received their Juris Doctorate on Saturday.

For Lamm, the military and the law have always been a part of her family. Her grandfather was an artillery captain in World War I and an attorney.

Lamm serves in the Army National Guard as a first lieutenant in the 135th field artillery brigade in Sedalia. She has been put on alert and may be called up to active duty in January.

In addition to law school, Lamm had to balance her time between her military responsibilities and a part-time job.

“It is the biggest relief. I almost cried this morning,” she said. “No one can make me take another law class.”

Like Lamm, Kelley Swanson’s family played a part in her graduation from law school.

“It means a whole lot. We came from a cotton farm in Arkansas,” said Kelley Swanson’s father, Willie Swanson Jr.

Willie Swanson Jr. worked on a cotton farm for $2 a day in Arkansas until he was 18. He then moved to St. Louis and now works two jobs. During school, Kelley Swanson also worked part time.

Swanson’s family has been supportive as she pursued a dream she’s had since she was 10.

Swanson’s aunt was unable to make Saturday’s graduation. To give Kelley her gift, her aunt waved down the Swanson’s car while the family was en route to the ceremony.

Inside Jesse Hall, 143 undergraduate students participated in the MU School of Business’ commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Susan Conrad, MU alum and president of EICON Properties Inc., was the school’s featured speaker. She encouraged students to “be helpful to others, expect great results from yourself and to go for the challenge.”

The ceremony also featured a speech by Amy Rees, who graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a minor in psychology. Rees, 22, plans to go to work for Ernst & Young in St. Louis as an auditor starting in May.

She told students to always remember their time at MU and to not set limits on their future.

Jenna Busey, Linsay Tempinson and Christian Detrick contributed to this report.

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