Education

SIUE graduates nearly 2,000 students

SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook presents the Distinguished Service Award to Johnetta Randolph Haley at the 2017 spring commencement ceremony.
SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook presents the Distinguished Service Award to Johnetta Randolph Haley at the 2017 spring commencement ceremony.

Nearly 2,000 students graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville during its spring commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday in the Vadalabene Center on campus. All the ceremonies are available on siue.edu/tv.

The student speakers shared encouraging messages with their fellow graduates, according to a news release:

Melissa Sue Beyer, who earned a master’s in psychology, said: “If you take anything from my experiences, it is to go outside your comfort zone. That is where the growth happens. That is how we each evolve as a person, as academic and career professionals.

“There were so many things that I was afraid of trying, because it either seemed too hard, too different or too scary. I didn’t want to be vulnerable, and I didn’t want to fail. But I decided that you have to try. After all, the expert in anything was once the beginner.”

LaShaunda Jordan, who earned a bachelor’s in mass communications, said: “Stepping up to the plate when there are strikes against you is never easy. I’ve learned from the Airmen’s example the importance of believing in myself. No matter how ugly things look or how many people are waiting for me to fail, I must believe in me, and class of 2017, you must do the same thing and believe in you.

“Join me on a journey to leave a legacy. Remember that success against all odds begins with believing you can beat the odds,” Jordan said. “Once we turn that tassel, there is work to be done, and it’s our time to pave the way to truth and excellence.”

There were so many things that I was afraid of trying, because it either seemed too hard, too different or too scary. I didn’t want to be vulnerable, and I didn’t want to fail. But I decided that you have to try. After all, the expert in anything was once the beginner.

Melissa Sue Beyer, SIUE graduation student speaker

Veronica Delgado, who earned a master’s in art therapy counseling, said: “When I began challenging myself to make decisions about my life based not on my ability, but on my willingness, I realized that rarely, if ever, did I actually feel confident,” she said. “The truth is I never did feel all that confident or capable. You just have to keep choosing, to keep being willing and one day you make it.

“I’ve decided that the question isn’t whether you can or can’t do something. It’s a question of willingness,” Delgado said. “Are you willing to put in the time and effort? Are you willing to be bold and vulnerable? Are you willing to complete the steps involved? When you’ve run out of ways to avoid it, are you willing to take the leap?”

Frankie Muse Freeman was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Renowned architect Gyo Obata was honored with the University’s Distinguished Service Award, and SIUE emeritus professor and former administrator Johnetta Randolph Haley also was honored with the Distinguished Service Award.

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe

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