Friends and family celebrate graduates at commencement

Central Michigan University undergraduates participate in the Fall 2022 Commencement on Dec. 17 in McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Despite chilly weather, friends and family were all smiles during Central Michigan University's Fall 2022 Commencement ceremony.

On Dec. 17, three graduation ceremonies, at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively, were held at McGuirk Arena; 1,755 total students celebrated the culmination of their undergraduate or graduate careers.

The first undergrad ceremony took place at 9 a.m. for students in the College of the Arts and Media, College of Education and Human Services and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions.

The second undergraduate ceremony, at 1 p.m., recognized students in the College of Business Administration, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the College of Science and Engineering.

The 5 p.m. ceremony was held for graduate certificates, master's degrees, specialist degrees and doctoral degrees.

President Bob Davies began the 1p.m. ceremony by honoring the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe followed by a speech from Trustee Isaiah Oliver.

Oliver reflected on his own graduation from CMU and the meaning of a degree from his alma mater.

"Your degree is a summary of the educational journey you've been on," Oliver said. "It represents all the knowledge and skills you've gained, and all the long hours dedicated to reading assignments and new projects reflects your passion and your determination and the sacrifices you've made."

Davies called nine graduates to the front of the stage, where he explained their journey to achieving a diploma. Of the nine, two had never met, but found out they were neighbors, and another pair was a mom and son graduating together.

After, he compared life to a choose-your-own-adventure book.

"During your years here at CMU, you have been the author and the hero of your own adventure," Davies said. "Your choices, great and exciting stories and marvelous thrills that won't give out for years and years to come."

After each ceremony, friends and family reunited with graduates in the SAC.

Lori Offenbecher came to support her daughter, Onna Lee. She said she is proud of her daughter and enjoyed CMU's commencement more than others because it did not have several, long speeches.

"(I enjoyed) really seeing the impact families have had to make it successful for people to graduate," said Lori Offenbecher.

Graduate Alexis Vought, who earned her degree in public and nonprofit administration, said she is happy to have spent an unanticipated extra semester on campus.

"I'm graduating a semester late, so it was like kind of weird at first to see all my friends graduate and not be there; but taking that extra time, I think, was really awesome for (me) to fully feel comfortable in my major," she said. "It just feels really good."

Andrea Luna, a first generation college student, obtained a degree in business administration. She said when she first came to CMU, she wanted to open her own salon. Now, with her entrepreneurship degree, she said she is looking into opening a cannabis consumption lounge, which was legalized in Michigan in 2019.

She encouraged incoming CMU students to maintain connections with loved ones.

"Stay in touch with family and friends just because it is lonely up here, especially if you don't know anyone," Luna said. "Have a good support system."