Graduates listen to commencement address given by Margie Reese. Dec 14. Photo by Cole Sheriff. (Cole Sheriff)
Graduates listen to commencement address given by Margie Reese. Dec 14. Photo by Cole Sheriff.

Cole Sheriff

739 students awarded at fall graduation 2019

December 14, 2019

Through the many years of tears, stress and constant studying, 739 MSU Texas students lined up to receive their degrees in various majors. They wait, clothed in graduation caps and gowns, listening for their names to be called so they can walk across the stage, receive their diplomas and finally call themselves “graduates.”

DATE | Dec. 14, 2019

LOCATION | Kay Yeager Coliseum

SPEAKER: | Margie Reese, executive director of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture

Tina Johnson receives faculty award
Colin Stevenson
Associate professor of computer science Tina Johnson recieves the faculty award for the 2019-2020 school year. Dec 14. Photo by Colin Stevenson.

FACULTY AWARD RECIPIENT | Tina Johnson, associate professor of computer science


  • Master’s | 134
  • Bachelor’s | 605


  • Dillard College of Business Administration | 94
  • Gordon T. and Ellen West College of Education | 140
  • Lamar D. Fain College of Fine Arts | 30
  • Robert D. and Carol Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services | 338
  • Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences | 43
  • McCoy College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering | 62


  • Master of Business Administration | 11
  • Master of Arts | 15
  • Master of Education | 49
  • Master of Health Administration | 1
  • Master of Science in Exercise Physiology | 4
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice | 6
  • Master of Science in Nursing | 18
  • Master of Radiologic Sciences | 19
  • Master of Science | 11
  • Bachelor of Science | 51
  • Bachelor of Social Work | 6
  • Bachelor of Business Administration | 83
  • Bachelor of Arts | 44
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences | 76
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts | 10
  • Bachelor of Music | 4
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies | 32
  • Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training | 2
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice | 30
  • Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology | 17
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing | 114
  • Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences | 56
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care | 65
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | 15

Source: Midwestern State University Commencement Program



“The art department has been like a second home to me. They made my experience at college extremely special.” | Ferdine Leblanc, art

“It’s been two-degree changes and lots of self-doubts, but through it all, I feel like I’m firm in what I did in life. I’m a reporter right now, but when my contract ends I want to pursue film.” | Tyler Manning, mass communication

“It’s meant a new beginning for my life and a purpose. I realized I wasn’t happy unless I was actually helping other people. ” | Amanda Morrow, social work

“It’s meant so much to me. This is probably the greatest radiology school in Texas, so to go here was really an honor.” | Alesia Nunez, radiology

“My experience was pretty special. I wasn’t sure in the beginning, but I couldn’t have picked a better place. I’ll be heading to San Antonio in a few months to pursue a career where I can use my degree, and maybe get into some film-making. You always felt known, here. With other places, you might feel like small cogs in a machine, but not here. It gives MSU an edge over other schools, and it gives the students an edge, I think.” | Jordan Stavely, marketing

“The West family had a scholarship for WFISD teachers, and when I found out I was ready to do this, it was an obvious choice. My experience has been amazing. I’ve had some of the best professors I’ve ever had, anywhere, and I mean that. It’s not just saying that. I always knew who I could call for help, feedback, or whatever. The professors care about you and your grades. It’s been awesome.” | Katherine Miller, education

“My experience has been amazing. I came here because of the convenience, initially, but now I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I want to get into international business, and I’ve gotten so many opportunities to go to conferences and travel the country with my education, so I think that’s shaped my experience.” | Hanna Gebel, management & finance

“MSU was the perfect fit. It’s the perfect size. The teachers are personable. I got into a sorority, where I met my sisters and my best friends. It’s been incredible. The relationships you can form with your professors are beyond anything you’d ever form at a bigger college.” | Mary Claire Anderson, education

“It’s been challenging. It was a good experience and taught me a ton of life lessons, but it was a very hard challenge. I felt like, coming in, it wasn’t the same as my old school in Seattle. The people are different, and it’s just a very different experience. I feel like I came from a school where the classes were a bit easier, which is part of what made MSU a good challenge.” | Brianna Manning, psychology

“I’m so excited, so nervous, and so rushed. I’m really sad to leave though, and I’m incredibly thankful. Now it’s just time to get a big-girl job.” | Mia Heck, mass communication

“My best memory from MSU is study-abroad. My scholarship paid for it, so I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket for it. It was the first time mass comm classes were offered over there so everything we did was for the first time. Getting to be the guinea pig of all that and getting to meet a lot of new people was the best experience of college.” | Tre Jones, mass communication

“I’m working to get my teaching certification and hoping to teach K-2nd grade. I want to further my education and get a master’s to become a counselor.” | Kendra Wheeler, applied arts and sciences

“I’m applying to be a state trooper here in Texas. By January 2021, [I hope] to go to boot camp and training. The biggest takeaway from college is social skills – getting better at talking to people I don’t know and getting better at speaking overall.” | Kyle Panter, criminal justice

“Networking, being able to interact with other people, in a professional setting has been the biggest takeaway. I know my public speaking has improved – that’s actually something I’ve become more comfortable in. I plan to take a break [from school] and look for some jobs; I’m going to give myself at least a year before I go to grad school.” | Lawrence Karanja, marketing

“I’m from China. My best memory is meeting my friends. The first time I went to America, I felt a little alone, but I came here and met my friends. I plan to travel with my friends to D.C., to New York and to L.A. then go back to China.” | Xiajan Wu, business administration

“Right now, I’m a math instructional coach so I hope this will lead me to a more curriculum position later on down the road. The professors are so amazing and understanding to all of us master’s students being in full-time careers, having kids and families so it was just great [studying here].” | Mariah Sutherland, education

“I plan to go into cardiac rehab or work with athletes – right now, I’m working at military bases. Working in the lab with my professors [was my best experience because] we just have a fun time in there getting stuff done.” | Emily Gilbert, exercise physiology

“I already passed my boards for the psychiatric nurse practitioner, so right now I’m just waiting on licensure and then I will hopefully get a job. [My dream job would be] working with kids or dealing with substance abuse – that was really interesting in clinicals. Clinic experience was my biggest takeaway.” | Linda Dao, science in nursing

“I want to open my own business, I’m not exactly sure what yet, but I definitely want to be my own boss and do my own things. Having leadership opportunities, being able to be involved in other organizations and being able to be involved in the community [made MSU a great experience].” | Kalyn Crow, business administration

“I want to go to vet school after this and move out of Texas for sure. I’ve met so many different types of people from everywhere and it’s great. I was an officer of P.R.I.D.E. and that got me through a lot. To the incoming students, don’t let anyone tell you who you are – love yourself and be yourself.” | Fabien Wallace, biology pre-med

“I’m going to Nashville to work in software development to design apps and websites. The senior show and graduating have been my best experiences in college. The greatest lesson college teaches is don’t procrastinate. I didn’t learn it very well, but that’s definitely my biggest takeaway.” | Thomas Goad, graphic design

“I currently live in Los Angeles so I finished my degree online and I will be going back to L.A. after this to keep working for Ross stores as a buyer. [I found MSU because] I have family in Wichita Falls; my dad grew up here and went to MSU for a portion of his undergrad and my uncle is a professor up here, so it’s kind of in the family.” | Paige Tilker, business administration

“I am going to, maybe, open a small business for testing for kids who need accommodations on tests like the SAT and ACT. I’m most excited to watch my kids be successful and see them grow to where they need to be.” | Ann Henkels, special education

“I retire with my aviation career in three years so I am transitioning into a strength and conditioning coach. I’m most excited about the opportunities to coach full-time; I’ve already coached for the past five years, but I want to make it full-time not part-time.” | Henry Rodriguez Jr., sports administration and education

“I’m from India. I’m probably going to Ph.D. school sometime in the near future. I have all my options open, it’s all so overwhelming, it ended so fast. I’m scanning my options right now and I’m most excited about jobs and getting paid.” | Yuga Joshi, exercise physiology

“I’m actually in the master’s of business administration program right now for health care management. I live here and work at United Regional and would like to get in with the United Regional leadership team.” | Mark Wright, science in radiologic sciences

“I’m looking at officer management school for a job in Tampa, Florida. I’m originally from South Africa and my family is far away already so now I kind of want to branch out.” | Chad Caldwell, business management

“I’m working on my alternative certification to become a science teacher in Bridgeport. I’m just excited to get out in the world and see what it has to offer.” | Katelyn Mattes, applied arts and sciences

“Next I’m going to relax and take a trip to Korea. My most memorable experience was working as the editor of The Wichitan; I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I eventually want to own my own wedding planning company or own a wedding venue.” | Alyssa Mitchell, mass communication

“I start chiropractic school in January. I’m excited for something new and excited to be home. I plan to work with someone and build clientele then, later on, have my own company.” | Jacqueline Dominguez, exercise physiology

“It means a lot to be able to hand your friends their diplomas. Even though I’m not graduating, it’s still exciting to be there for them.” | Andrew Wolf, student regent

“It’s always that exciting celebration of the culmination of work between faculty and students. We work together for three years to achieve something that’s truly life-changing, so it’s always exciting to see that.” | James Johnston, provost and vice president for academic affairs

“As a student, I have three degrees. I never attended a single commencement. However, as a President, I love it. I like the circumstance and pomp that makes it official and makes them feel celebrated. I think it’s a milestone.” | Suzanne Shipley, president

“It’s refreshing to see [students] who are ready to take on the world. Taylor Barnett was the most quiet thing in all of my classes, and to hear Dr. Sernoe talk so highly about her moot court argument and hear that she argued a so point well that it was a critical changing factor in moot court is what makes being an educator worth it. Passing information on to the next generation is the reason I do this because it’s certainly not for the pay. To the incoming students, take it one step at a time, you need to take a couple of steps outside of your room, you need to take a couple of steps outside of your comfort zone, and you need to go places that you would not normally go to on your own. Until you do that, you won’t fully embrace the college experience.”  | Christopher D’Amico, mass communication lecturer

“I’m excited that the students are maturing and going off in the world. Diversity issues are most important that I teach. If we’re going to improve as a country, we need to have some basic respect and a real appreciation of everyone. My advice to incoming students is to do the work, turn the assignments in; if you don’t turn them in, then what are you here for?” | Pamela Anderson, associate professor of counseling

“I can see the relationship between them [students] and the degree and how it will all be used outside of the university. I teach students to value a critical engagement with the world – not taking things at face value – and being able to see how important it is to ask questions and have an open mind. Always try to double minor in something, don’t just try to go the job route. Develop [some] soft-skills like in humanities, philosophy or English.” | Tyler Williams, assistant professor of humanities

“Seeing my first-generation students graduate and seeing their parents here, that to me is the most incredible thing about this. Students, be the best you can, work hard and never let anyone pull the wool over your eyes.” Geoffrey Clegg, assistant professor of English

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