Graduates celebrate milestone with family and friends

May 14, 2012

Emporia State graduates cheer others as they wait to walk across the stage for their diplomas.


Cheers with some air horns added in filled William Lindsay White Auditorium in Emporia on Saturday morning as undergraduates crossed the stage to collect their diplomas from Emporia State University. At the same time, graduate degrees were presented in Albert Taylor Hall on the Emporia State campus.

Nearly 600 students were candidates for bachelor’s degrees. Another 283 were candidates for graduate degrees. The threat of inclement weather moved the ceremonies from Welch Stadium. But the move didn’t diminish the air of celebration for the family and friends of those receiving their bachelor’s degrees at White.

“On behalf of the faculty and administration, I extend our congratulations to you,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, overseeing his first commencement ceremony as Emporia State president. “We look forward to your future achievements as you continue your careers and graduate education.”

Lana Oleen, chair of the Emporia State University Foundation board of trustees, advised the students on three essential items to pack into their backpacks as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. Oleen, who earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Emporia State, taught 12 years in the classroom — and was named a Kansas Master Teacher — before being elected a Kansas state senator. She served in the senate or six years, including as Kansas Senate Majority Leader, and now owns Lana Oleen Consulting.

Ashley Vogts, left, and Regent Robba Moran, center, help Lana Oleen show graduates a simple way to remember the key points of Oleen's keynote address at Emporia State University's undergraduate commencement ceremonies.Energy was the first item to pack, Oleen said, noting that much energy is given away through work, family commitments and other priorities.

“Remember, even if you fall flat on your face from time to time, you are still moving forward,” she said.  

Each student should pack the skill set learned during their time at Emporia State, said Oleen, who told she learned to actively listen, continually think, encourage collaboration and to speak in public.

These skills that were so useful in the classroom were equally useful in the Kansas Senate, she added.

Finally, Oleen told the graduates, remember to take understanding with them.

“Understand what it takes to live happy and successful in today’s world,” she said. “No matter where you started, we need you to participate in the future we all share.”

For lists of degree candidates, please click the links below:

Undergraduate degrees

Graduate degrees



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