Graduates gather to take a group photo before the Midwestern State University Commencement at Kay Yeager Coliseum on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Photo by Francisco Martinez (Francisco Martinez)
Graduates gather to take a group photo before the Midwestern State University Commencement at Kay Yeager Coliseum on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Photo by Francisco Martinez

Francisco Martinez

Largest class of graduating students recognized May 12

May 12, 2018

At the spring graduation ceremony, 741 students were recognized in the Kay Yeager Coliseum on May 12.

According to Darla Inglish, university registrar, “[The graduating class] is just the largest class that we have had in May. That is the largest number we recall seating ever.”

Faculty responsible for the facilitation of the event said it is an honor to be a part of.

“It is certainly an honor for me, I have sat on the side of the graduating students so I feel that as an MSU alumnus. So now to be an MSU administrator and an MSU alum, that same ceremony is an honor,” James Johnston, university provost, said.

For retiring faculty member Everett Kindig, professor of history, the event is the last ceremony he will attend after the 47 years working at Midwestern State.

“Well you look back on any sort of career, certainly teaching at the college level, and you feel fulfilled. I am glad that I have had so many great years and a bit of nostalgia as well,” Kindig said. “I really enjoyed working with the students. That I think helped to set those years apart. Some things get tiring after a while. I told someone that when I am on my death bed, I won’t wish that I graded more bluebooks.”

This semester’s commencement speaker was Luke Allen, Spanish and political science.

“I am definitely excited. It is a huge honor to get to do this, to represent the students well. I am little nervous of course, but mostly excited.”

How do you feel about the possibility of graduation being moved to campus and split by college?

Johnston has pushed for the university to move the graduation ceremony back onto campus in the D.L. Ligon Coliseum, a decision that could be made as soon as next spring.

However, due to problems with capacity, the graduation would have to be split up into multiple ceremonies for the several colleges on campus.

“[We are] really just looking at capacity and how to do that, so that depends on the seating capacity and how to divide the colleges to graduate,” Johnston said. “There is not enough room to graduate them all, so we have to — let’s say — half the colleges in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, or something like that.”

Don Maxwell, professor of music | “Well that’s the way we used to do it and I can see advantages and disadvantages both ways. Of course, having one [graduation ceremony] is easier to do. You have one and then you’re done, but it’s also off campus. Getting people on campus is an important aspect of this. Parents and so forth who don’t normally visit, their kids may go here, but they don’t pay much attention to it and they [parents] get to look at the campus and spread the word that it is really an outstanding facility.”

Marc Zographos, marketing | “I feel actually privileged, honestly. That is a really interesting thing. I feel like it might actually help some people get around. It is unfortunate because having it in a huge stadium brings the feeling of graduation up. It feels better. It adds more to the atmosphere.”

Shannon Howerton, theater | “I wouldn’t be opposed. I would rather have it like all of the colleges [as opposed to splitting up graduation by college] because it is not just [about] each college it is the conglomerate of all of the schools. I prefer it all together even if it is a little longer.”

Yareli Lora, Spanish | “It doesn’t really affect me so I guess I don’t really care about it. I have had older brothers who graduated here and I am graduating here, so I think the MPEC is always going to be the place where I will remember MSU graduates graduated at.”

Kareem Small, masters biology | “I have to prefer it being on campus, if everybody did it. It feels more momentous that way than splitting it up into different days.”

Maria Peña, political science | “It is a good idea. Bringing it back to campus would be a good idea, but then you’re limiting the amount of people that can go. Dividing it would be okay.”

Timothy Yap, music | “It would be kind of cool to have it back on campus so you wouldn’t travel as far, but the thing is, the traffic problem on campus — like parking and stuff — is pretty bad on normal traffic days, so imagine how bad it would be with all the parents coming in town. That is my only concern.”

Zach Davis, history |“That would be cool. I know back in the day they used to have it in the coliseum. That would be fun. Being [one of] the last graduating classes in [Kay Yaeger Coliseum would mean] the rafters would echo my name.”

How do you feel about graduating?

Marc Zographos, marketing | “I am excited. My childhood dream is to be done with school. It is a great feeling.”

Shannon Howerton, theater | “It is kind of a mix between ‘sad’ and ‘it’s about time.’ It really is a great feeling to hit the next chapter and go to work with the degree that we worked hard on to get.”

Yareli Lora, Spanish | “It has been a long time coming for sure. I am really excited. At first, it really didn’t hit my. I was just like, ‘Oh, I’m graduating,’ but now it is real. It is actually happening and I have never been happier. It’s weird, it is a strange feeling.”

Kareem Small, master’s, biology | “I don’t think I would be able to do it, if it were at another college. I think it was a good experience.”

Maria Peña, political science | “I am going to cry. I am going to throw up, literally. I am nervous. I didn’t really realize it. It didn’t hit me until I had my last meeting yesterday with the Board of Regents and I started crying during my presentation. It just kind of hit me like a truck.”

Zach Davis, history | “It feels kind of weird, because there are so many people here, but it’s cool. It is the end of a chapter in my life.”

Timothy Yap, music | “I don’t believe this is happening. I have dreamed about this day for five years — I have been in school for five years — I have counted down the days to this. I couldn’t be more ecstatic.”

DATE | May 12, 2018

LOCATION | Kay Yeager Coliseum

SPEAKER | Luke Allen, Spanish and political science

HARDIN AWARD RECIPIENT | David Carlston, professor of psychology


  • Master’s | 82
  • Bachelor’s | 659


  • Dillard College of Business of Administration | 110
  • Gordon T. And Ellen West College of Education | 134
  • Lamar B. Fain College of Fine Arts | 33
  • Robert D. And Carol Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services | 262
  • Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences | 84
  • McCoy College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering | 118


  • Master of Business Administration | 9
  • Master of Arts | 7
  • Master of Education | 30
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice | 8
  • Master of Health Administration | 3
  • Master of Science in Exercise Physiology | 3
  • Bachelor of Science | 412
  • Bachelor of Social Work | 15
  • Bachelor of Business Administration | 101
  • Bachelor of Arts | 55
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences | 57
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts | 14
  • Bachelor of Music | 5

Source: Midwestern State University Commencement program

Additional reporting by Francisco Martinez, Justin Marquart and Rachel Johnson.

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