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News Release

April 27, 2024

Commencement ceremonies celebrate achievements, encourage graduates to stay connected


Northwest Missouri State University honored its spring graduates during four commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday, celebrating their journeys at Northwest while encouraging them to build upon their learning at the University and their connections.

“I know you understand that Northwest Missouri State University is not just a place of learning,” Northwest President Dr. Lance Tatum said during his remarks to graduates and their families in Bearcat Arena. “It’s a home, a community that fosters growth, innovation and excellence. Our culture – enriched by steadfast faculty and staff – has prepared each of you to be ready for what the world has for you.

“When you depart from this campus and begin to find your place in this world, I am sure all of you will be called upon to make a difference in your communities. I urge you to be active, embrace the role of leadership, set an example for others and never stop seeking wisdom.”

Northwest President Dr. Lance Tatum congratulates Didar Orazgeldiyev, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in digital media with a visual imaging emphasis, on the commencement stage Friday afternoon. (Photos by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Northwest President Dr. Lance Tatum congratulates Didar Orazgeldiyev, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in digital media with a visual imaging emphasis, on the commencement stage Friday afternoon. (Photos by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

A Northwest graduate shows her diploma cover after one of the University's commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

A Northwest graduate shows her diploma cover after one of the University's commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

Tatum, who is completing his first year at the University, encouraged graduates to stay connected with Northwest and spoke to three themes that he said he focuses on in his life – trustworthiness, go beyond expectations and being honorable. He encouraged the graduates to be on time and do the work that is expected of them, to take control of their reputations and know that their behavior shapes their character.

“Remember, someone is always watching,” Tatum said. “Be trustworthy, pay attention to the little things. If you do this, your rewards will come in the way of others empowering and investing in you.”

Tatum also encouraged the graduates to honor their commitments, finish the work they start and build persistence – traits that showed up in the students and guests attending Friday night’s ceremony as well as the event staff managing it. The evening ceremony was halted for nearly an hour when a tornado warning affecting Nodaway County forced the University to evacuate the Bearcat Arena crowd into the facility’s basement. The ceremony resumed as planned after the warning was cleared, although Tatum abbreviated his remarks.

“As you step into the world, remember that you carry with you not just a degree, but an opportunity – an opportunity to enrich your state, to support and advance the region and to uphold the values that Northwest has instilled in you,” Tatum said.

Notably, many of the students receiving bachelor’s degrees from Northwest this spring completed their high school degrees amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, you’ve soared above and beyond, showing the world what it means to be a Bearcat,” Tatum said. “Adversity did not deter you. Instead, it forged you into a resilient individual, ready to embrace what lies ahead.”

The commencement ceremonies celebrated 1,377 students, ranging in age from 19 to 61. Northwest awarded 720 bachelor’s degrees, 537 master’s degrees and 116 education specialist degrees.

Elementary education and business management were the most common bachelor’s degrees among the graduates, and applied computer science was the most common master’s degree.

Geographically, the graduates represented 37 states with two-thirds of them hailing from locations in Missouri; another 22 percent were from the surrounding states of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Northwest celebrated 224 international graduates from 10 different countries.

Northwest graduates turn their tassels after the conferral of their degrees on Friday.

Northwest graduates turn their tassels after the conferral of their degrees on Friday.

About Northwest Missouri State University

With an enrollment of about 10,000 students, Northwest is a coeducational, primarily residential four-year university that offers a broad range of undergraduate and selected graduate programs on its Maryville campus as well as its Northwest-Kansas City location and through Northwest Online.

Founded in 1905 and ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top public regional universities in the Midwest, Northwest boasts a high retention rate and a graduation rate in the 95th percentile among its peers. Additionally, results of the 2021 Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory show Northwest students are more satisfied than students at national peers, and 80 percent of Northwest students report they would repeat their University experience, compared to 77 percent of students surveyed nationally at their respective institutions.

Furthermore, 97 percent of Northwest bachelor’s degree earners and 99 percent of master’s degree earners secure employment or continue their education within six months of graduation, according to the most recent data

Northwest places a high emphasis on profession-based learning to help graduates get a jumpstart on their careers. Students have opportunities to build their résumés with experiences on campus in nearly every area of study, including the Horace Mann Laboratory SchoolNational Public Radio affiliate KXCV, the R.T. Wright FarmMozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area or Knacktive, a student-driven integrated digital marketing communications agency. In conjunction with its emergency and disaster management program, Northwest organizes and hosts Missouri Hope, an annual mass casualty training exercise that attracts first responders and emergency workers from throughout the nation and provides hands-on training in preparation for a natural disaster.

The University’s vibrant and diverse learning community also offers more than 150 student organizations, and textbooks and a laptop are included in tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation, saving students an estimated $6,800 over four years. Northwest offers 1,200 student employment positions, allowing students to build professional skills through its internationally benchmarked student employment program. 

For more information about Northwest and its performance, visit mdwq.watchnb.com/aboutus/facts/.



Contact

Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215
660.562.1704
mhorn@watchnb.com