(Photo | Courtesy of OSU)
Oregon State University will graduate a record 7,391 students during a virtual commencement event at 10:30am Saturday, June 12. An in-person graduation celebration will take place the day before from 12:30-3pm The event will include an informal processional of graduates, departing from the Memorial Union and Valley Library quads and ending at Reser Stadium, where graduates will hear brief remarks from OSU leaders.
Face masks will be required at the in-person event. As family and friends will be unable to attend the stadium event, graduates will be able to have their photo taken at booths set up in the stadium to share later with others.
The 7,391 graduating students will receive 7,690 degrees during the virtual event. (There will be 271 students receiving two degrees and four who will receive three degrees.) They will add to the ranks of OSU alumni, who have earned 272,504 degrees over the university’s history.
A virtual commencement address will be given by Edward J. Ray, who led a dynamic transformation at Oregon State during 17 years of service as the university’s president. Ray served as OSU president through June 30, 2020 and is now president emeritus. He was scheduled to give the commencement address last year, but the ceremony was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some facts and figures about OSU’s class of 2021:
- Of the 7,690 degrees that will be awarded, 6,210 will go to students receiving bachelor’s degrees; 1,037, master’s degrees; 264, doctor of philosophy degrees; 81, doctor of pharmacy degrees; 70, doctor of veterinary medicine degrees; and eight, doctor of education.
- OSU’s 2021 graduates represent all of Oregon’s 36 counties, 50 states and 73 countries.
- Students of color represent 24.7 percent of this year’s graduating class.
- The oldest graduate is 79 years old; the youngest is 19 years old; the average age is 25.
- The graduating class includes 177 veterans of U.S. military service.
- A record total of 1,384 Oregon State students completed requirements in 43 degree programs this year through Ecampus, the university’s top-ranked online education provider. The graduates hail from 47 states and 15 countries.
- The degrees to be awarded include 216 to undergraduate students (including three who were double majors) and 55 to graduate students from OSU-Cascades in Bend.
- OSU’s Honors College is graduating 230 students.
- The graduating class includes 1,390 students who are the first in their family to earn a college degree; 4,226 Oregon residents; and 3,164 non-resident students of which 983 are international students.
With this graduating class, Oregon State will now have more than 205,000 alumni living and working in all 50 states and more than 125 countries. Here is a link to a news release regarding the 2021 graduating class at OSU-Cascades: beav.es/3mq.
- Ezra Affoumado is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public health management and policy and a minor in business entrepreneurship, with plans to go into healthcare administration. While completing his undergraduate degree, he also took graduate-level courses through the accelerated graduate program so when he enrolls in a master’s program for public health or public administration he will already have several credits. Affoumado has been a part of OSU’s TRACE community testing program since it began in April 2020, working with the field operations manager on logistics and management for teams doing door-to-door sampling throughout Oregon. This real-world experience affirmed his desire to go into health administration and help ensure medical staff have the support and resources they need to succeed. View video of Affoumado: youtu.be/JwMyBazRPNk
- Emmanuel Alexandre is an Ecampus student who completed his French bachelor’s degree online from Vine Grove, Kentucky. He came to the U.S. in 1998 from Haiti and was left with his godfather. Following several stops and starts in his academic career, he joined the Army and served in Afghanistan, where he was wounded in combat. While teaching at U.S. Department of Defense schools in Fort Knox, Kentucky, he enrolled online at Oregon State and will graduate cum laude as one of the first students to earn a French degree from a distance. He plans to attend graduate school and pursue additional opportunities as an educator.
- Originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Hannah McCalpine quickly found her place at OSU-Cascades. “The small campus size made it easier to make friends and connections,” she said. For her independent study project, she examined the role of colorism in the African American community. “Her ability to tease out how colorism becomes internalized in the community is a strong contribution to the field of American studies and to our larger moment,” said Neil Browne, associate professor of English and program coordinator. Inspired by the impact made on her by a high school history teacher, McCalpine starts in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at OSU-Cascades this summer. She plans on teaching high school language arts and social studies.
- Angel McNabb-Lyons is a graphic design major in the College of Liberal Arts. McNabb-Lyons, who grew up in Eugene, found her campus home at the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, where she has worked and engaged with classmates on racial justice issues throughout her time at OSU. McNabb-Lyons served as treasurer of the Black Student Union as a sophomore and as president during her junior year. As a senior, she joined the board of the Oregon State chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, a student organization that supports the academic and professional development of minorities in agriculture, natural resources and related fields. She was one of two graphic design students selected to create a color palette and design four large murals on the first floor of Poling Hall. The design project celebrates the diversity within the new Nia Black Scholar and munk-skukum Indigenous living-learning communities. McNabb-Lyons plans to pursue a graphic design career in Seattle following graduation and hopes one day to return to OSU as a faculty member and mentor for students of color. View video of McNabb-Lyons: youtu.be/fMG0qbcv3Kg.
- Metzin Rodriguez was born and raised in Mexico and moved to Coos Bay in 2012 when she started high school. The new language, culture and environment challenged her, but she persevered and ended up at OSU as a bioresource research major in the College of Agricultural Sciences. As part of her major, she wrote a thesis focused on socio-emotional learning in students in pre-college programs. She also served as vice president of the Associated Students of Oregon State, worked as a tour guide and was active in the OSU chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences. She went on a service learning trip to Puerto Rico and worked as an intern in the Washington, D.C. office of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. After graduating she plans to work for several years to expand her knowledge about policy and advocacy. She then wants to go graduate school for a public policy degree and eventually pursue a career in sustainable development. View video of Rodriguez: youtu.be/iJKlVJWRaog.
- First-generation college student Linda Tucker Serniak struggled academically for years because of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which went undiagnosed until March. A Ph.D. candidate in environmental sciences, Serniak is an alumna of OSU’s graduate certificate in college and university teaching program and also a teaching assistant in the program. She used that position to help create the Grad Commons, a new space for graduate students at the Valley Library, and also developed an online orientation program for Ecampus students. Serniak, whose Ph.D. research involves an invasive species, the crazy snake worm, and its influence on organic matter in soil, will begin in the fall as an assistant professor of biology at Defiance College in Ohio.
- Esther Vega of Forest Grove is an industrial engineering major who is also in the Honors College. As a student ambassador, she learned how important it was to communicate to native Spanish speakers in their language. For her Honors College thesis, she used her knowledge of system efficiencies to look at how community programs could better connect K-12 teachers with Latinx parents. She found ways to promote engagement between the two groups and ways to connect through a shared focus on student success. Last summer she worked with Google for Education, creating a technology workshop that targeted non-native speaking parents. After graduation she will oversee a team at a Southern California supply chain infrastructure company. She eventually plans to attend graduate school.