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West Liberty graduates tasked to ‘make your mark’

COMMENCEMENT — West Liberty University President W. Franklin Evans and student speaker Abbey Bauer of Moundsville are shown just before the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021, held Saturday. -- Contributed

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University’s graduates were challenged at this weekend’s commencement ceremonies to take their next steps and make the world better for as many as they can.

“What are you going to do next?” state Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, said to each of the commencement ceremonies via video. “You’re going to make your mark on the world and make your community and your state a better place. Go out and make your mark. Go out and make a difference. Use your degree … to make a difference.

“You will use your degree and use what you have and use the knowledge that you gained and go out and make a difference in the world. What you have isn’t just a diploma but a ticket to a network of alumni across the country. You are now a small part of a bigger network. Use that network to your advantage.”

WLU hosted hybrid commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 this past Friday and Saturday. Graduates from the Class of 2020 who were unable to participate in a live ceremony last spring also were invited to participate. A total of 443 degrees were conferred this spring consisting of 28 associate degrees, 323 bachelor degrees and 75 master degrees. An additional 17 degrees will be conferred at a June 11 ceremony for the physician assistant graduate class after they complete clinical rotations.

WLU President W. Franklin Evans presided at all ceremonies and Weld spoke at each ceremony in a virtual presentation. Each ceremony had a different student speaker.

“Graduates, we will miss you,” Evans said. “But we will not forget you, Class of 2021 and those who returned from the Classes of 2020 to be celebrated and honored, we want you always to be proud of your alma mater. We want the value of your West Liberty degree to grow, as you grow personally and professionally in the years to come.”

The graduate degree ceremony took place Friday and the student speaker was Anna Malone of Clarksburg, who earned a Master of Arts in Education degree.

The three undergraduate degree ceremonies took place on Saturday. The 9 a.m. ceremony for the College of Education & Human Performance and the College of Liberal Arts included comments from student speaker Abbey Bauer of Moundsville.

The noon ceremony for the College of Sciences included student speakers Breanna Sayre of Wheeling and Kendall Souder of Elletsville, Ind.

The 3 p.m. ceremony for the College of Arts & Communication, the Gary E. West College of Business, and the School of Professional Studies featured student speaker Rebekah Teter of Shanks. Chairman of WLU Board of Governors Rich Lucas greeted the graduates in a virtual presentation. Lucas stressed the value of their degrees and encouraged the graduates to stay in the “West Liberty University family” as they move forward.

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