124 graduates marched single file through the Riley Center this morning, taking their last steps before being granted the college degree from MSU Meridian they have worked so hard towards as friends and family looked on. Student Services Manager Marilyn James says that most of their students balance a lot while attending class.
"They have families. They're working. They're mothers, fathers, and it's just a lot to get done, but they have worked through it and they are here today to graduate."
Five graduates, three undergrads and two graduate students were selected by the faculty as Outstanding Graduates for their GPA, community involvement, character, and passion for their field. Two of those graduates, Undergrad Alicia Rodriquez and Master's Graduate Andrew Evans both say that their degree took a lot of hard work.
"For a while, I just wanted my undergrad. I just wanted to get my Bachelor's, but the more involved I became in Social Work, the more I wanted to continue on and do great things."
"MBA was a really good opportunity for me so I did that while I was working full time and I really enjoyed it."
Both Rodriquez and Evans want to encourage people in school and thinking about getting a degree to work hard.
"There were so many things in my life that didn't stop me, but could have. There were barriers that I felt I couldn't overcome, but when I did it was so amazing."
"Grad school is not as bad as it seems. Go on and get your MBA and you'll do great things."
James, also graduating today believes that graduation is a very special time.
"It's dear to my heart. I've worked with it for over 20 years, and every graduation is a special graduation. It's not routine because we have a whole new set of people that are realizing their dreams."