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April 15, 2003 :: Thousands of Oklahoma College Graduates Poised to Enter Workforce

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The days of pulling all-nighters will be coming to an end for many of the thousands of Oklahoma college students graduating from the state’s public higher education institutions this spring.

According to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, an estimated 25,500 students will earn college degrees this spring, nearly half of which represent students receiving bachelor’s degrees.

Preliminary information relating to degrees awarded in spring 2003 was gathered in a survey of higher education institutions. Official data for the 2002-2003 academic year will be available later.

The most popular fields of study among the estimated 7,400 students who will be receiving associate degrees are business, general studies and nursing.

Business, education and psychology are the programs most frequently selected by the estimated 12,700 students earning bachelor’s degrees.

An estimated total of 4,200 students will receive master’s degrees in a variety of fields, most notably in business and education.

Another 400 students will earn their doctorate degrees, while an estimated 800 others will receive professional degrees in areas such as law and medicine.

“This is an exciting time of the year for thousands of graduates as they move from one chapter in their lives and into another, a chapter filled with hope, opportunity and a bright future,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “These graduates have earned their degrees through hard work, dedication and commitment. They will play an integral role in helping shape Oklahoma’s economy for many years to come. We are truly proud of their accomplishments, and they deserve our utmost respect and admiration.”

Distinguished representatives from various fields will deliver commencement addresses at this year’s graduation ceremonies. Ceremonies are listed alphabetically by city and include dates, times, locations and speakers’ names, where available.

East Central University, Ada, will hold its commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 10 at the Kerr Activities Center. ECU Distinguished Alumnus Kevin Turner, chief executive officer and president of Sam’s Club Division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., will provide the commencement address. Western Oklahoma State College in Altus will welcome Dr. Kermit McMurry, vice chancellor for student services for the State Regents, as its commencement speaker at 8 p.m. May 9 in the Herschel H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium. It will mark the 76th annual commencement at the southwestern Oklahoma college. Northwestern Oklahoma State University will hold its 104th annual commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. May 10 at Ranger Field in Alva. U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., will give the commencement address.

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha, will hold its spring graduation ceremony at 8 p.m. April 18 in Troutt Hall Auditorium. J. Blake Wade, executive director of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission, will address the graduates. State Rep. Jari Askins, D-Duncan, will speak at Rogers State University’s graduation ceremony at 4 p.m. May 10 at the Claremore Expo Center. This marks the 91st commencement for RSU and will feature the university’s second group of bachelor’s degree graduates. RSU was accredited as a four-year university in August 2000. Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant will hold its 93rd annual commencement at 9 a.m. May 10 on Paul Laird Field. U.S. Sen. Brad Carson, D-Okla., will be the featured commencement speaker.

The University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, will hold four separate commencement ceremonies over a two-day period inside Hamilton Field House on the UCO campus. The first is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 9 for bachelor’s degree graduates of the College of Education, and the second is at 7 p.m. for master’s degree graduates from the College of Education and graduates from the College of Mathematics and Sciences. The third ceremony begins at 9 a.m. May 10 for the College of Business Administration graduates, followed by the 1 p.m. commencement for graduates of the College of Arts, Media and Design and College of Liberal Arts. Redlands Community College in El Reno will hold its 64th annual commencement at 8 p.m. May 16 in the Redlands Field House. Dr. Phil Moss, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs for the State Regents, will give the address. Former Oklahoma State Attorney General Mike Turpin will speak at 3 p.m. May 3 at the Enid branch of Northern Oklahoma College during the institution’s 97th commencement ceremony.

Rep. Larry Adair, D-Stilwell, speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, will be the guest speaker at Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s 80th graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. May 17 in the Oscar Williams Field House in Goodwell. Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry will speak to graduates at Langston University’s 103rd commencement, which is set for 11 a.m. May 17 inside the C.F. “Zip” Gayles Field House. Henry will also speak to graduates at Cameron University’s commencement at 10 a.m. May 10 at Cameron Stadium in Lawton. It will mark the first graduation ceremony for CU President Dr. Cindy Ross, who began her duties August 1, 2002.

The 82nd annual commencement exercises at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami, will take place at 8 p.m. May 8 at Robertson Field. Clark Osborn, M.D., will provide the commencement address. Robert H. Henry, circuit judge for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will speak to graduates at Rose State College’s 33rd annual commencement at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. May 9 at the Communications Center on the RSC campus in Midwest City. OU will hold its 111th annual graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. May 10 inside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman.

Sen. Keith Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, will speak to graduates at Oklahoma City Community College’s 29th annual commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. May 9 at the Cox Business Services Convention Center. Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City will hold its 34th annual commencement at 7:30 p.m. May 19 at the Civic Center Music Hall. Higher education Chancellor Paul G. Risser will serve as commencement speaker. Charles Moore, vice president of information technology at ONEOK, Inc., will be the commencement speaker at OSU Technical Branch-Okmulgee at 7:30 p.m. April 22 inside Covelle Hall Auditorium. Carl Albert State College in Poteau will hold its commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. May 2 inside the Mick Thompson Fitness Center.

Brig. Gen. Rita Aragon with the Oklahoma Air National Guard will speak to graduates during Seminole State College’s 70th annual commencement at 10 a.m. May 10 inside Raymond Harber Field House. Gallagher-Iba Arena will be the site of two separate commencements for OSU, Stillwater, May 10. The colleges of Business Administration; Engineering, Architecture and Technology; and Human Environmental Sciences will hold their commencement at 10 a.m., while the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Arts and Sciences; Education; and Veterinary Medicine will hold their graduation ceremony at 2 p.m.

Northeastern State University President Dr. Larry Williams will serve as commencement speaker for NSU’s 99th annual graduation ceremony at 9 a.m. May 10 at Waddley Stadium in Tahlequah. He will also speak to NSU-Broken Arrow graduates at 7 p.m. May 12 during commencement exercises inside the VanTrease Performing Arts Center located on Tulsa Community College’s Southeast Campus.

Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, will address graduates at Murray State College’s 95th annual commencement at 7 p.m. May 9 on the north lawn of the college’s administration building in Tishomingo. Northern Oklahoma College will welcome Chancellor Risser as commencement speaker at its 97th annual graduation ceremony at 9:30 a.m. May 3 at Foster-Piper Field House in Tonkawa.

Risser will also speak to graduates during Tulsa Community College’s 32nd annual commencement at 7:30 p.m. May 9 inside Oral Roberts University’s Mabee Center in Tulsa. The OSU Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, will hold its commencement ceremony for graduates of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at 10 a.m. May 17 inside the VanTrease Performing Arts Center located on TCC’s Southeast Campus. Dr. David J. Schmidly, new OSU president and chief executive officer of the OSU system, will give the commencement address.

Schmidly will also serve as guest speaker during OSU-Tulsa’s commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. May 8 at the Pavilion at Expo Square in Tulsa. Langston University-Tulsa will hold its second commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. May 8 inside the Tulsa Convention Center.

Rep. Ray Miller, D-Quinton, will be the featured speaker during Connors State College’s 94th annual commencement at 7 p.m. May 9 inside the Melvin Self Field House in Warner. Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s 99th annual commencement will take place at 10 a.m. May 10 at Milam Stadium in Weatherford. Former SWOSU presidents Al Harris (1960-1975) and Joe Anna Hibler (1990-2001) will give short addresses during the graduation ceremony. In addition, both will be inducted into SWOSU Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame during the ceremony. Eastern Oklahoma State College’s 93rd annual commencement will be held at 7 p.m. May 2 inside the C.C. Dunlap Field House in Wilburton.