Approximately 660 Students Graduate at 95th CommencementMay 21, 2015

On Saturday, May 16, approximately 660 students became the newest group of alumni in the Rockhurst University family as they walked across the stage at the 95th annual commencement ceremony at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.

Those receiving their degrees before friends, family and members of the University community during the annual ceremony included approximately 300 undergraduate students, among them 117 graduates from the Rockhurst-affiliated Research College of Nursing, and 293 students from the University’s graduate programs, including master’s and doctorate level degree earners.

Two of those graduates, picked to deliver student reflections during the ceremony, offered special lessons learned.

Christina Shackelford, a Kansas City native who will enter the Teach for America program, said in her address to the graduates and to the audience that she found herself drawn to Rockhurst because of the unique nonprofit leadership studies program that taught her how each person can learn to be a leader in their unique own way. Shackelford also thanked Rockhurst for providing her with a sense of community.

“Like many of you, I found a home away from home,” she said.

Emily Crafton, a graduate of the Helzberg School of Management’s executive MBA program and an account supervisor at Kansas City-based marketing firm VML, said in her address on behalf of graduate level students that she appreciated the new sense of perspective Rockhurst provided that not only informed her approach to business, but to life in general.

“Every single one of us experiences the weight of the world, we just all experience it in a different way,” she said.

In addition to the approximately 660 students who received their degrees, several students were honored individually. The Senior Gold Medal, an honor given to the undergraduate senior with the highest overall GPA, was this year given to two different students: Courtney Lock and Jillian Thaden.

The University also honored Aaron Thomas, a political science student from Kansas City, Missouri, who was killed in a car crash in early 2015, with a posthumous degree presented to his family by Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J.

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