Buena Vista University Graduates 760 in 122nd Commencement

Buena Vista University Graduates 760 in 122nd Commencement

Buena Vista University held commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 25, with 760 undergraduates receiving their degrees.

They included 210 undergraduates from the Storm Lake campus and 550 who attended the locations of BVU's Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) program, both on-site and online. Another 29 students received master's degrees.

Captain Jared Gledhill, assistant professor of military science, commissioned three students as officers - Josh Long, Josh Noble and Jaime Oberg - at the start of the ceremony.

Commencement speaker was Ken Paulson, president and CEO of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C.

Paulson is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from American University.

Prior to accepting his position at the First Amendment Center, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today's board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues and the news media.

During his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states.

He was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982 before moving on to manage newsrooms in Westchester County, N.Y., Green Bay, Wis., Bridgewater, N.J. and at Florida Today in Brevard County, Fla.

He told the graduates they are entering a "vibrant, high-paced world."

He spoke of how Superman - known for "truth, justice and the American Way" for the past 75 years - is a constant reminder that though mild-mannered on the outside, there are strengths within.

"There is a bit Superman in all of you," he told the graduates.

He also talked with the students about when he was age 2, Elvis Presley made his first appearance and how he changed the world of music and fashion. And then a few years later, the Beatles came into the light and they also made changes. He told the Class of 2013 graduates that they, too, can change the world. "You are a distinctly different generation."

In 1993, when many of these students were born, computers were gigantic and to get connected to the Internet took several minutes, much different than today's microcomputers and instant access to information around the world.

This generation, he added, has many "free" resources available to them such as You-Tube, Facebook, and this generation has helped make them so popular. "You are able to stay in touch all the time; global communication is second nature. You're pretty special. Now what are you going to do about that? You have the skills and the principles."

"Those before you have done great work but there is more work to be done. That's where you come in. You demand authenticity and integrity. You are smart young people and you can demand substance over sensationalism. Always pursue your passion and be committed.

Following Paulson's address, Jamii Claiborne, Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya and Dr. Andrea Frantz recognized Paulson for his achievements and presented him with the Doctor of Humane Letters Degree.

BVU President Fred Moore, after presenting the diplomas and giving the graduates their first "congratulations" for a job well done, told the Class of 2013, "with my congratulations comes a charge. Be effective stewards. Use the knowledge you have acquired."

The students were then welcomed into the BVU Alumni Association.

Chaplin Ken Meissner picked up on the cheers from the stands as the graduates walked across stage and received their diplomas. "I hope you will always have those balcony people in your lives, those people who follow you and cheer for you," he said.

Following the ceremonies, the graduates were treated to a reception on the lawn in front of Siebens Fieldhouse.