Record number of students to graduate this spring


Tori Lentz

1,780 students are eligible to graduate this year compared to 1,670 last May. Students will graduate in three commencement ceremonies May 9.

NKU will graduate one of its largest classes in the institution’s history when 1,780 students receive degrees at three commencement ceremonies May 9.

“We continue to go up a little bit. We have a couple hundred more [students graduating] than last May,” Kathy Stewart, director of special events, said. “We’re real happy that the retention plans are working, students are staying in school and they’re graduating. We’re seeing a lot more actually walk through the ceremony than in years past, which is really good.”

Last year, 1,670 students were eligible to graduate. The College of Arts and Sciences continues to graduate the most students, according to Stewart.

“The largest school obviously is the College of Arts and Sciences, but we try to divide [the schools] up as such so that we have somewhat of a balanced group in each [ceremony]. But whatever one has the College of Arts and Sciences is usually the largest ceremony,” Stewart said.

Some of the top majors graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences include organizational leadership, psychology and criminal justice, according to Dr. Katherine Frank, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We often have a large number of graduates in organizational leadership and we have a fair number across the STEM disciplines as well if you think about all of our science and mathematics disciplines combined,” Frank said.

The spring commencement is always larger than the ceremony in December, according to Krista Wiseman-Moore, manager of special events and stewardship.

“Social work has a big group this spring and I think most people just tend to be on that schedule where they graduate in the spring, although certainly we have plenty in December as well,” Wiseman-Moore said. “Some things are cohorted, so some programs only graduate in the spring.

She said commencement is one of the most exciting events the university organizes.

“It’s nice to help with an event that everyone is really positive about. People are excited to be there and one of the best parts is when the graduates actually walk in,” Wiseman-Moore said. “We have music playing, the graduates have been lining up in this conference room, it’s all crowded, and then they walk out onto the floor of this huge arena and it’s full of people and I feel like it’s a cool moment for them to have.”

The commencement ceremonies will take place in the Bank of Kentucky Center May 9.

Fred Hersch Concert

A free concert by eight-time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch will be held in Greaves Hall at 7:30 p.m. May 8 to celebrate NKU’s May commencement ceremonies. The induction of the inaugural class into the Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame will also take place.

Morning Ceremony

At 9 a.m., the commencement ceremony for graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Haile/US Bank College of Business will take place. The doors open at 8 a.m. Eight-time Grammy nominee and jazz artist Fred Hersch will receive an honorary doctor of musical arts degree and serve as the commencement speaker.

Afternoon Ceremony

At 2 p.m., the commencement ceremony for graduates from the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Health Professions, and the College of Informatics will take place. The doors open at 1 p.m. A posthumous bachelor of arts in journalism will be given to Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb. His children and former wife, Susan Stokes, will receive the degree on his behalf and Stokes will serve as the commencement speaker.

Evening ceremony

At 6 p.m., the commencement ceremony for graduates from the Chase College of Law will take place. A graduate reception will begin at 4 p.m. and doors to the ceremony open at 5:30 p.m. William H. Hawkins II of Baker Hostetler LLP and a 1978 graduate of NKU, will speak.