President Kayse Shrum last walked across the stage in 1998 and now she was the one giving out the degrees.
Dr. Shrum, who became Oklahoma State University’s president on July 1, has already accomplished a number of firsts in her role, but on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11, she presided over her first commencement ceremonies. It was the 143rd commencement in OSU’s history and first all-female led ceremony in the school’s history.
Chancellor Allison Garrett of the State’s Regents for Higher Education delivered the keynote address.
Around 1,300 graduates were recognized as commencement returned to Gallagher-Iba Arena. It was held in Boone Pickens Stadium in the spring because of COVID-19 and no in-person ceremonies were held at all in 2020.
Garrett, who became the state’s first female chancellor of higher education on Nov. 1, gave graduates three things to take from her speech and use in their careers.
“No. 1: Challenge yourselves to do hard things. That is how you grow as an individual. In your careers, whatever they may be, that will help you be a success,” Garrett said. “No. 2: Keep your priorities straight. … Keep your priorities straight as family and faith should be important in your life. No. 3: Look to serve others. Kindness pays off.”
Garrett commended Dr. Shrum for her leadership at OSU and reminded graduates that after the ceremony, they will have started down a path of success.
“We are excited to welcome you to the academic fraternity,” Garrett said. “... On average, those with a college degree will learn 75 percent more than those with a high school degree.”
Also speaking were Dr. Trudy Milner, chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, and Dr. Pamela Lovern, chair of OSU’s Faculty Council.