Before an audience of about 8,000 people, 1,626 Buckeyes were officially made OSU alumni at the Schottenstein Center as part of winter commencement on Sunday.
One of four commencement ceremonies held by OSU every year, winter commencement saw sunny skies with mild winds, though conditions at the Schott were a comfy 72 degrees.
“The sun has come out, and it’s a great day to be a Buckeye,” said Javaune Adams-Gaston, OSU vice president for student life, in her opening remarks.
In his opening comments, OSU President E. Gordon Gee noted the unending relationship between OSU and its alumni.
“Throughout your lives, wherever you find yourselves, this university will hold you in its embrace,” Gee said. “Wherever you go, whatever you do, Ohio State is indeed a part of you.”
Donna James, winter commencement keynote speaker and managing director of Landon & Associates, LLC, told The Lantern what the commencement ceremony means.
“It’s a tremendous recognition of a lot of years of time and effort, and this day is the beginning of the payoff,” James said.
In her address, James told graduates to relish in their accomplishment while they can.
“After you walk across this stage, celebrate this moment with friends and your family,” James said. “You will get busy with what comes next in your lives.”
For his work in the field of neuroscience, Solomon Snyder was awarded an honorary degree, presented by Douglas Borror, vice chair of the OSU board of trustees. Borror also presented a distinguished service award to Ellen Tressel, wife of OSU football coach Jim Tressel, for her philanthropic work at OSU.
In his address to graduates, Gee noted the absence of members of the OSU basketball team, as they compete in the NCAA Tournament in Cleveland. Gee reassured the audience that commencement would be finished by the 5:15 tipoff.
David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale and Nikola Kecman posed for photos with their caps and diplomas at the Quicken Loans Arena hours before squaring off against George Mason in the NCAA Tournament.
“Graduates, today you begin a new phase of your journey. Now, in that phase, I do not wish you farewell, but I do wish that you will ‘fare well,'” Gee said.