By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
The Spring Commencement ceremony for the 158th graduating class of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor was held this past Saturday in Crusader Stadium.
The students in attendance represented the largest undergraduate class, graduate class, as well as the largest number of international students graduating in the history of the university.
In total, 493 students were awarded degrees with 341 students receiving baccalaureate degrees, 136 receiving master’s degrees, and 16 earning doctoral degrees. Thirty-six of the graduates were either active duty or retired members of the armed forces.
During the ceremony, several student awards were presented. The Provost Medal for highest overall GPA was split between 13 students who were all graduating with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. The following students received the Provost Medal: Kelsey Belcher of Belton, Joshua Bradshaw of Pipe Creek, Erin Buerschinger of Copperas Cove, Alannah Domangue of Liberty, Chandler Hanses of San Antonio, Caitlin Hyer of Brazoria, Anastasia Lowe of Houston, Drew Roicki of San Antonio, Jennifer Sellers of Salado, Elizabeth Stefanski of Katy, Kyle White of Lake Jackson, Sarah Whitson of Burleson, and Xiaoge Xiu of Belton.
The Loyalty Cup, which is given to the student who is most representative of the ideals, traditions and spirit of the university, was presented to Alec Lloyd of Conroe. The President Award for meritorious service went to Erin Prica of Belton.
“You came to UMHB during a transformational time for the university,” said UMHB President Randy O’Rear. “The campus looks very different today than it did on your first visit.”
During their time at UMHB, the students were witness to a great deal of innovation taking place on campus. Groundbreakings, construction, and dedications of a number of new facilities include the Baugh Center for Visual Arts, Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center, Bawcom Student Union, and of course Crusader Stadium.
“Of course the degree is important,” said O’Rear, “but you must also learn to serve in order to be a good leader. When I look at you, I see 500 opportunities to make the world a better place. I see individuals who know how to lead, who know how to serve, and who know how their faith can help shape and inform the decisions they make.”