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Record Fall Graduates Receive Diplomas


JONESBORO — Marking “a time of excitement at Arkansas State University,” Dr. Lynita Cooksey, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research, conferred degrees upon a record 1,405-member fall graduating class during the Fall 2016 commencement ceremony Saturday morning in the A-State Convocation Center.

>“Your education at Arkansas State has paved the way for life-long learning,” said Cooksey. “It has provided you with a path to influence the world. Use the knowledge you have gained at A-State and your experiences in the future to make a difference. I encourage you to be the change you want to see in the world.”

Dr. Kwangkook (David) Jeong, faculty award winner for excellence in scholarship and associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, addressed the students and crowd on behalf of the A-State faculty. 

“You have all gone through times of incredible stress with your heavy loads and troubles, but only to be rewarded. I’m proud and excited that you now get to apply what you have learned to your job or other studies,” he stated.

Offering remarks on behalf of the 2016 fall graduating class was Cody Hutchison of Jonesboro, who received bachelor of science degrees in music and music education while graduating magna cum laude as a member of the A-State Honors Program. 

Hutchison said, “Every one of us in this graduating class has shown traits of dedication, discipline, perseverance and so much more to get to this point. We have pursued our passion to ultimately spend our lives doing what it is that we love.”

The class representing six colleges—Agriculture, Engineering and Technology; Business; Education and Behavioral Science; Liberal Arts and Communication; Nursing and Health Professions; and Sciences and Mathematics—included 58 students receiving honors who met the criteria: 35 cum laude (3.60-3.79 grade point average overall and institutional), 22 magna cum laude (3.80-3.99 GPA) and one summa cum laude (4.00 GPA).

In addition, Robert M. “Bob” Wood, a graduate of Arkansas State and long-time local builder and developer, was posthumously awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Members of his family accepted the degree from Dr. Jason Penry, vice chancellor for University Advancement, and Dr. Shane Hunt, dean of the College of Business.

“Mr. Wood’s contributions to higher education and the public good are worthy of recognition,” said Cooksey. “It is with great pleasure that Arkansas State, by the unanimous action of its Board of Trustees, posthumously confers upon Mr. Bob Wood the doctoral degree of Humane Letters.”

Also recognized at the ceremony were the A-State Department of Military Science and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the program’s beginning at the university in 1936 and the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Army Cadet Command.