A cold day, a packed stadium, the sounds of hundreds of people applauding. For fall 2022 semester graduates, commencement is the culmination of years of hard work finally paying off.
“Today, you join the ranks of 210,000 people who have graduated from our University,” President Geoffrey Mearns said as he addressed students and families during the fall graduation ceremony at Worthen Arena.
More than 1,200 students completed doctoral, masters and bachelors degrees.
Ball State softball player Amaia Daniel is a first-generation college graduate.
“It’s a really exciting process,” Daniel said. “I’m the first graduate that’s come out of my family, and it honestly means a lot.”
Daniel spent five years earning her degree and was finally able to see all of her hard work come to fruition Saturday.
“It was a long, long five years, but it was all full of determination and hard work,” Daniel said. “I’m ready to just get into the world and see what the world has for me.”
Emanuel Olvera is also a first-generation college student. He graduated from the Miller College of Business and was proud to be the first graduate from his family.
“It’s just awesome, overwhelming with excitement and joy and pride and being able to represent my family,” Olvera said. “It’s just been a lot of hard work, a lot of staying up and doing homework and doing the best that I can.”
Zanita Whitley, a non traditional college student, met a goal she had set for herself years ago: to graduate college.
“Amazing, it feels amazing,” Whitley said. “I have a personal goal I set for myself, I was actually already in my career but I just really wanted to get a degree.”
Whitley graduated with a degree in general studies and a triple minor in public health, business information systems and computer technology.
Don Yaeger, ‘84 Ball State graduate and New York Times best selling author, spoke to the students about their futures.
“It matters not what others say you can or cannot do, what matters is what you choose to do after the words are said, and it also matters who you choose to do it with,” Yaeger said. “I chose instead to literally write my own future.”
Family members came out in force to support the graduates. Bob McClaren’s wife, Robin, graduated with a masters in secondary math education. Robin is currently a high school teacher in Ohio.
“She’s been doing this for three and a half years to get her coursework done,” Bob said. “I’m proud of her, she’s been through a lot to get to the degree. She had a full time job at the same time, she’s working constantly.”
As the ceremony winded down, Mearns offered guidance to the class of 2022.
“Be sincere and speak the truth. Model integrity and value integrity in others,” Mearns said. “We believe in that brighter and better future because we believe in you. Good luck and God speed.”
Contact Christopher Raines with comments at email@example.com.