Thousands of new alumni bid farewell to textbooks, exams

This weekend, 4,268 MU students are receiving degrees.
Sunday, May 15, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:14 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Elizabeth Lentz will be the first doctor in her family, and her father couldn’t be prouder.

“She’s been offered three jobs, but she’s turned them all down,” said her father Rick Lentz. Elizabeth received her doctorate Friday from the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“She’s waiting for that one special job.”

Lentz is among the thousands of students who, as of this weekend, can call themselves alumni of the University of Missouri.

Commencement ceremonies began Friday afternoon and will wrap up later today.

A total of 4,268 MU degrees have been or will be handed out at 15 ceremonies spread out over the weekend, according to a university press release. Nearly 3,000 of the degrees being awarded are at the bachelor’s level.

On Saturday morning, former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan gave the commencement speech for the School of Health Professions. Drawing on examples from rabbinical teaching, the Bible, slave leader Harriet Tubman and Special Olympics athletes, Carnahan gave graduates three key pieces of advice.

“Leave the world better than you found it, never give up and reach out to others who need your help,” she said.

Sharon Smith, who traveled from Kansas City to see her nephew, Michael Collins, receive his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical therapy, said she enjoyed Carnahan’s address.

“It was real down home, like something you’d get from your mother or grandmother,” she said. “They’re going to remember it.”

Christopher Scheidt, who received his bachelor’s of health science degree in diagnostic medical ultrasound and has already secured a job in Sedalia, said he liked Carnahan’s use of historical examples.

“It was definitely impressive,” he said.

Three honorary degrees were handed out earlier Saturday at the university’s Honors Convocation. Herbert Roesky, who traveled from Germany to receive his degree, is a chemist and author of more than 1,000 articles and 15 books.

The other two honorees, Catherine Allen and William S. Thompson Jr., have been leaders of the university’s For All We Call Mizzou fundraising campaign.

In his address to the audience gathered in Mizzou Arena, Thompson highlighted the importance of hard work and a solid education.

“Today what’s needed is a throwback to a couple of generations ago: good old-fashioned American ambition,” he said.

The colleges of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Business, Education and Engineering; and the schools of Medicine and Natural Resources also held commencement exercises Saturday. The ROTC held its commissioning ceremony on Saturday morning.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, the Sinclair School of Nursing, the School of Journalism and the Graduate School held commencement ceremonies Friday.

Jefferey Bonner, director of the St. Louis Zoo, is scheduled to speak to graduates and families at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement at 11 a.m. today in Mizzou Arena.

Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary Rhodes Russell will speak at the School of Law graduation ceremonies, which will begin at 1 p.m. today in Jesse Auditorium.

The College of Human Environmental Sciences will hold the last set of commencement exercises later this afternoon.

About 440 Columbia College students and more than 100 at Stephens College received degrees at their schools’ commencement ceremonies May 7.

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