Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook is overseeing the 2019 fall commencement exercises today and tomorrow. Ceremonies in the First Community Arena at the Vadalabene Center on campus for the 1,186 eligible graduates began this afternoon, and continue Saturday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“On behalf of SIUE, I want to extend our excitement for the nearly 1,200 students graduating this weekend,” Pembrook said. “At this very special time of year, the accomplishments of these students add to the joy that family and friends are feeling. We know that in joining over 100,000 fellow Cougar alums, these graduates will become an essential part of the workforce in the Metro East. Congratulations and best wishes for commencement and the holidays.”
The SIU System Board of Trustees was represented by SIUE alumnus John Simmons and SIUE student trustee Mackenzie Rogers, who addressed the School of Nursing (SON) graduates Friday afternoon. Rebecca Phillips, who earned a bachelor’s in nursing, was the student speaker.
Phillips had specific advice for the SON grads. “Have integrity, always do the right thing even when no one is watching,” she said. “Have accountability to those you serve. It will build your character as a nurse and your relationships with your patients. Don’t let the stress of the day derail you from doing the right thing. There will be days that will test you in every possible way.
“Ask questions, the wisest people I know ask questions. Questions open doors to learning. Wisdom allows you to apply knowledge in a manner that promotes wellness and good into your role as a nurse. Keep learning, you may be the next Florence Nightingale.”
Phillips also encouraged her peers to be open to change and to be inclusive. “Healthcare is constantly changing, growing, and developing,” she said. “Change can open new doors that you thought originally had no purpose. Healthcare is a team environment, include your team and support each other. Open yourself up to other cultures, beliefs, and practices. You will meet many people in your profession, from all over the world, and there will be so much you can learn from them. Challenge yourself to learn something each and every day.”
The Saturday morning student speaker is Kaylynn Woolfolk, who earned a master’s in education from the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior (SEHHB). The morning session also features the Graduate School and the School of Business.
Andrew Greenwood, assistant professor of musicology and graduate program director in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), is SIUE’s 2019 Teaching Excellence Award winner. He will address graduates during the Saturday afternoon ceremony that features the Graduate School, CAS, and Schools of Engineering and Pharmacy.
The Saturday afternoon student speaker is Sydney Daniel, who earned a bachelor’s in mass communications from CAS.