The Aug. 6 Commencement marked a new beginning in the lives of undergraduate and graduate students – and Dr. Phil Schubert, who presided in his first Commencement.
Schubert said it was an honor to congratulate each of the graduates and be a part of a celebration that included so many families.
“It was amazing to see the passion, the excitement, the looking forward to what God is going to do in their faces,” Schubert said. “It was a great reminder of the opportunities offered after so much time and commitment.”
Provost Dr. Jeanine Varner said she was glad students have the opportunity to celebrate their graduation at the time they finish their degree plan, even if that celebration is for a smaller number of graduates.
“The August Commencement is a fairly small number of students, especially compared to the May ceremony, but it’s always special,” Varner said. “It’s an exciting time that means a lot.”
The August ceremony has always had a higher ratio of students receiving master’s degrees than the December or May ceremonies, said registrar Bart Herridge. The same was true this year, with 62 graduate students and 37 undergraduate students walking the stage in Moody Coliseum.
However, only a fraction of undergraduate and graduate students who complete their degrees over the summer participate in Commencement, Herridge said. Though the number of students who earned undergraduate degrees is still being tallied, about 120 students completed their master’s degree, said Greg Kendall-Ball, degree tracking specialist.
Jackie Hughes, ACU alumnus and educational multimedia designer, walked the stage to receive her master’s degree in communication. She said it was exciting to have a front row seat at Schubert’s first Commencement.
“I was actually really proud of him,” Hughes said. “I know change is hard sometimes – but I think Dr. Schubert’s going to do really well.”
Hughes said a storm that thundered through the ceremony gave the event an extra jolt of excitement. Herridge described the timing of the storm as “God’s blessing.”
“Literally we had just gotten the last of the students in as it started raining,” Herridge said. “By the time the ceremony ended, the rain had pretty much stopped.”