More than 2,700 students graduate during December commencement


A former Central Michigan University graduate student celebrates after receiving a diploma at the 2019 Fall Commencement ceremony Dec. 14 at McGuirk Arena.

More than 2,700 students said farewell to Central Michigan University during three commencement ceremonies Dec. 14.

The total number of students who graduated in this semester was 2,754, according to Ari Harris,  assistant director of University Communications​. Among them, 1,656 earned bachelor's, 964 earned master's degrees, 54 earned doctoral degrees and 80 earned either specialist degrees or graduate certificates.

"I don't think I've kept this a secret, but this is among my most favorite days," President Bob Davies said. "It's a day of commencement and it's a day of celebration."

9 a.m. Ceremony

The first commencement address of the day was delivered by William Kanine, a former member of the board of trustees. He told students to reflect on their individual journeys through college and the be grateful for the people that helped them through it.

“From the smiles on your faces, I know you’re very proud of your efforts and all that graduation means to you,” Kanine said. “Now please pause and think just for a minute about the people throughout your lives that have helped you in some way to get here today. As much as you have individually accomplished to be a college graduate, somebody helped you.”

Davies also made some speeches to the soon to be former students. He said he hopes the graduates will be strong, kind and good leaders. He also encouraged the graduates to take out their phones and take selfies with the person next to them. Davies even walked into the student section to take one with a student.

He pointed out several graduating students sitting in the audience, who had spouses, children and parents sitting in the audience. He asked them all to go to their family members and give them hugs during the ceremony.

Graduates received the following degrees at the 9 a.m. ceremony:

  • Bachelor of Applied Arts
    • Entrepreneurship major
  • Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training
  • Bachelor of Science
    • Communication Disorders/Communication Sciences and Disorders major
    • Community Health Education major
    • Exercise Science major
    • Health Administration major
    • Physical Education major
    • Physical Activity Specialist major
    • Public Health Education major
    • Sports Studies/Management major
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Entrepreneurial Transactions
  • Master of Health Administration
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Science - Information Systems
  • Specialist in Education
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Educational Technology
  • Doctor of Health Administration
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership

1:30 p.m. Ceremony

All it took was a hearty, “Fire Up Chips,” from President Davies to get the 1:30 p.m. ceremony on its way.

The commencement address was given by Ann Buller, who has served as a member, chair and past chair of the Central Michigan University Graduate Studies Ontario Advisory Committee.

During her speech, Buller brought up the overtake of social media, Baby Yoda and emojis. However, at the heart of Buller’s speech given to the ocean of tassels, gowns and caps was a simple message: Be leaders.  

“I ask you to use the content of your character and the breadth of your talents and knowledge to be what the world needs most right now,” Buller said. “We hear a lot about global skill shortages, and you know what’s often at the top of that list? Leadership.”

Buller also challenged graduates to be prepared to work hard and change the world. She described diplomas as a call to action to make a difference in the community, the world, the country and the planet.

“Leading is not about winning, it is about learning,” she said.

Graduates received the following degrees at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony:

  • Bachelor of Applied Arts
    • All majors except Entrepreneurship
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Music Education
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Music
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Science in Administration
  • Graduate Certificates

6 p.m. Ceremony

The third and final commencement address of the day was made by Luke Daum, who earned a Master of Science from CMU in 1999. He described his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan and how he struggled with his confidence there.

He said he left with a 2.46 GPA and decided to apply for the CMU Biology Graduate Program, after a change in his outlook, but his application was rejected. Daum was able to figure out a way to make it through his graduate program and told students that they should get themselves out in the world.

"A few of you may feel lost or uncertain, and that's OK," Daum said. "Don't let the pressures of family, friends, or worse – a fear of failure – drown out your own inner voice."

Davies recognized more students in the audience, including Shayn Lindquist, who was named the 2019 Solider of the Year by Military Times. Davies said he got this award after he learned about having brain cancer. But, he still attended classes and served camps while battling cancer.

Graduates received the following degrees at the 6 p.m. ceremony:

  • Bachelor of Individualized Studies
  • Bachelor of Science
    • All majors except those listed in the 9 a.m. ceremony
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Master of Science
  • Specialist in Psychological Services
  • Doctor of Audiology
  • Doctor of Philosophy