Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

May 8, 2014

Grand Graduands - WKU-Glasgow students honored

GLASGOW — Katie Highbaugh was a bit nervous Thursday night.

The Glasgow student’s job was to carry the gonfalon bearing the Western Kentucky University Glasgow logo through the Plaza Theatre, down a steep aisle to the front of the stage.

She chatted with fellow students, who, like her, had accrued enough college credit hours to participate in the Glasgow campus’ graduand — a special pre-commencement ceremony just for WKU-Glasgow students.

Highbaugh likes the idea that WKU Glasgow students get their own graduation-type event, separate from other WKU students.

“Graduand is just a way to celebrate us as a smaller group,” she said.

  Highbaugh didn’t take all of her classes at WKU Glasgow.

She started her college career at Middle Tennessee State University, but then transferred to WKU-Glasgow.

“It was good to come back home. It really feels like a community here,” she said.

She credits her professors and the classes she was able to take at WKU-Glasgow for helping her obtain “a free ride” to attend graduate school at the University of Tennessee.

Highbaugh was the recipient of the WKU Spirit Award during the ceremony, which is given to a person who exhibits enthusiasm about WKU.  

The Spirit Award was one of two that were given during the event. The other, the WKU Glasgow Scholar Award, went to Jake Delk, a Glasgow history major.

The Scholar Award is given to a student who has exhibited exceptional work, maintained a minimum grade point average of 3.75 and has been involved in scholarly activities beyond those expected in the classroom.  

Delk took a majority of his classes at WKU-Glasgow.

“There’s more of a personal atmosphere there,” he said. “There’s more individual interaction with teachers and students. You don’t get that on a larger campus.”

Delk was also one of the speakers during the ceremony. As he addressed his fellow students and others who had turned out for the graduand, he said, “This is a very special occasion for all of us here at WKU-Glasgow. This is the moment that we can see that all of our hard work has paid off. Tonight we reap the awards of all of our hard labor.”

Other speakers were Dr. Gary Ransdell, president of WKU, who was not present for the graduand, but rather delivered a quick speech via video.

“I’m proud of each and every one of you. I’m glad you are taking control of your own destiny and you are now finishing something that you started either a few years ago, and in some cases several years ago,” he said.

 Dr. Sally Ray, regional chancellor and director of the WKU-Glasgow campus, also spoke during the ceremony and said while the event is a celebration of achievement, they can’t forget those they have lost along the way.   

Amy Marie Eubank, a Glasgow student, died, along with her unborn son, in a car crash in January.

“She was 23-year-old mother who was working and attending classes on our campus,” Ray said. “Like all of you, it was Amy’s dream to earn a college degree.”

Ray asked for a moment of silence in memory of Eubank.

Ray was followed by the evening’s keynote speaker, Dave Tatman, retired General Motors Assembly plant manger of Bowling Green.

Tatman urged the graduates to always pay it forward as a way of paying back others for the support they have given to them during the time they have been earning their college education.

“There are people behind you who have helped you along the way. And those are people you can never really pay back,” he said.  

 One way of doing that is by getting involved, regardless of whether it means getting involved at work, their church or in a community activity.

“There’s no better feeling than when you are paying it forward in that kind of way,” he said.  

 

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