Students Celebrate Ohio University Graduation

Posted on:

< < Back to

Thousands of Ohio University undergraduates made the transition to Bobcat alumni Saturday at the Convocation Center.

Smiles, cheers and hugs were plentiful as graduates greeted their families and loved ones and said goodbye to friends.

OU’s graduate commencement took place Friday and the two undergraduate commencements were held Saturday — graduating nearly 5,000 Bobcats altogether.

This year’s undergraduate commencement speaker was award-winning journalist Andrew Alexander. He’s a 1972 OU alumnus and currently serves as the Scripps Howard Visiting Professional for the Scripps College of Communication.

According to his biography, Alexander is a former Washington Post ombudsman, editor and Washington bureau chief, who has reported from more than 50 countries and won or shared in prizes for distinguished Washington correspondence and investigative journalism. Alexander was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Communication during Saturday’s ceremonies.

Alexander said he should have graduated in 1970, but didn’t complete his degree until 1972. As an undergrad at Ohio University, Alexander said his life revolved around his work as a student reporter with The Post. He said he spent more time writing than he did attending class.

“When 1970 came, I left and started my career in Dayton, Ohio,” he said, adding that it was the director of the school of journalism that encouraged him to complete his degree. While he successfully completed the degree in 1972, Alexander said he was too embarrassed to participate in commencement.

“So walking with you today figuratively really means something to me. I’m grateful for that,” he said.

Alexander acknowledged the fact that President Barack Obama was delivering the commencement speech at The Ohio State University. He said while he knows the president will give a great speech, Alexander said his own speech would be more personal to reflect Athens.

“But things are a little different here at OHIO, the state university,” Alexander said to a round of applause. “I mean that in a very positive way. Everything in Athens is more intimate.”

“We have about 200,000 alumni who have contributed to society in amazing ways and damn near every one of them is sentimental about this place where we are right now,” Alexander said.

He challenged the OU graduates to call their friends who attended other universities and see if they miss their old college campus. He said not many will, but Bobcats around the world are always sentimental about Athens.

“They’ll be overcome with nostalgia. They’ll tear up. There’s something about this place that’s special and I’m not quite sure what it is. It’s just beautiful here,” Alexander said.

He said alums remember the brick streets of Athens and the towering oak trees on the College Green, but it’s the memories that they remember most.

“Things like the Marching 110 going ‘Gangnam Style,’ the gorgeous long arc of a DJ Cooper three pointer from Nelsonville, studying for one of those exams at Donkey Coffee trying to get yourself hyped up, or my favorite — your mother having a little bit too much fun on Mom’s Weekend. I’ve seen it,” Alexander said.

“There’s just something unique about this place. It’s sort of deceptively competitive, delightfully weird and funky, it’s comfortable with what it is, genuine…” he added.

Alexander then asked the graduates to give back to their university either financially or by critiquing resumes or mentoring students.

Scripps College of Communication graduate Emily Mueller of Dayton said that OU was the best four years of her life.

“I’m proud but sad to leave,” she said on Saturday. “It was really fun.”

Zach Miller and Taylor Kreemer said they will miss the place that they called home for the past four years.

“We both had a good time a year ago in the house we lived in together,” Miller said. “Lots of shenanigans and stuff.”

Megan Scalf stood with her family after she walked across the stage on Saturday. Her family said said they were very proud of their recent grad.

“I’m thrilled to death,” her grandmother said.