Kent State University will hold its spring commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MAC Center).
Kent State will confer 4,285 degrees, including 2,697 bachelor’s degrees, 788 master’s degrees, 54 doctoral degrees, 738 associate’s degrees and eight educational specialist degrees.
The advanced degree ceremony for Ph.D. and master’s degrees will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 4, in the MAC Center with speaker Thomas Melillo, DPM, president of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine.
For Saturday’s baccalaureate ceremonies, Greg Crawford, Ph.D., a Kent State alumnus and dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony, and Dave Edmonds, senior vice president of FedEx and Kent State alumnus, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
The 10 a.m. ceremony will include majors from College of the Arts; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Communication and Information; and College of Technology. The 2 p.m. ceremony will include majors from College of Architecture and Environmental Design; College of Business Administration; College of Education, Health and Human Services; College of Nursing; and College of Public Health.
Among this year’s graduating class are five seniors with heart-warming stories about overcoming adversity and achieving success:
• In 2005, senior architecture major Za-Non Miller of Cleveland had to postpone starting his college career at Kent State due to kidney failure.
After Miller went to the hospital for a headache, he learned he had only four of the 13 pints of blood needed to live.
Miller’s prognosis was not good, and he had to have a blood transfusion. Once his blood count was up and he was back on his feet, he began attending school part-time. Miller had to undergo 12 hours of dialysis per week for a year.
In 2006, his mother donated one of her kidneys, making it possible for Miller to attend Kent State to finish his degree.
• In 2007, high school senior Jeannette Reyes’ family home was in the process of foreclosure, and she was working two jobs to help her parents make ends meet. She could barely pay the $35 application fee to Kent State and applied for numerous local and national journalism scholarships.
She won almost $15,000. With all the scholarships and the help of a mentor, Reyes found out early her junior year that she was going to graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism.
Her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer two weeks later. In the summer of 2011, Reyes interned at CNN in Atlanta, Ga. Her father passed away while she was completing her internship.
A native of Providence, R.I., Reyes is currently a finalist for a position as news anchor/reporter in Little Rock, Ark.
• Dondrea Brown of Columbus, Ohio, entered foster care at 13 years old. While in foster care, he was a regional champion in track, maintained a 4.0 GPA and graduated third in his high school graduating class.
In 2008, Brown came to Kent State University, majoring in political science with a concentration in American politics. Brown is a first-generation college student, made the dean’s list every semester at Kent State and is a McNair Scholar.
Upon graduation, Brown plans to earn a master’s degree in middle childhood education and teach integrated social studies. His ultimate goal is to earn a doctoral degree and develop programs that will serve as a support system and challenge the generations to come.
• They have been together since birth and will be walking across the stage together during graduation.
Twins Audrianna and Brittney Sisul, 21, of Washington, Pa., will be obtaining their degrees in business management and managerial marketing from the College of Business Administration at Kent State.
Audrianna is graduating Summa Cum Laude, and Brittney is graduating Magna Cum Laude.
• David Taylor and Erica Eckert of Brimfield, Ohio, met in 2004 in class at Kent State. By spring of 2005, the two were a couple and decided to enter the Ph.D. program in the College of Education, Health and Human Services.
Though Taylor and Eckert are polar opposites, they took many classes together and spent a lot of time propelling each other forward. In 2007, the couple was cleared to start their dissertations, but having been in school for nine years, their education started to take a back seat as life intervened. By 2008, Eckert and Taylor were married and kicked the dissertation writing into high gear in 2010.
The couple will have their doctoral hooding during the May 4 ceremony. Taylor is senior assistant director of Residence Services at Kent State.
For more information about commencement, visit www.kent.edu/commencement.