More than 700 Ohio University students were conferred graduate degrees during the annual graduate commencement ceremony Friday morning in the Convocation Center.
OU President Roderick J. McDavis commended each graduate on achieving a personal milestone, whether they took a traditional or different path before beginning their graduate studies.
"Each of you has had special support in achieving your educational goal," McDavis said. "They were there for you every step of the way, believing in and encouraging you when you may have had some doubts. Please take a moment to stand and say thank you to everyone in the audience who has supported you during this educational endeavor."
Art professor asks students to take meaningful action
After being described by his students as sincere, enthusiastic, creative, supportive, engaged and dedicated to teaching and graduate education, associate art professor Duane McDiarmid took the microphone to inspire the graduates to do great things.
During his colorful speech, he mentioned monkeys, Cheyenne Indians, lizards, fish, sponges, chickens dressed in caps and gowns, and fudge and pineapple rivers. He also found time to tell graduates to do work that is meaningful to them and others.
McDiarmid said "integrity should be pervasive in all our work… whether our work is business or poetry." He added that "university graduates will earn more dollars, suffer fewer health problems and experience more satisfaction in their lives than citizens with less education."
He challenged the graduates to "do professional good for your people - however, that is defined by you. Your work I ask to be measured as actions. Do they act in kinship to your core beliefs?"
He asked the graduates to take on a vocation of active societal healing. He told them to find a profession that goes beyond making a living and find one that heals, treats and serves.
"Make meaningful acts with your life," McDiarmid said. "Those that evidence your humane beliefs are truly professional practices."
Finally he shared some last words of wisdom. "Aspiring to only a good job would indicate that you were swindled," McDiarmid said. "Education is precious and should never even flirt with swindle nor should it be measured by an accountant."
McDavis bestowed the 2012 Distinguished Professor Award on John Kopchick and the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award on Jay Ryu.
Kopchick, the Milton and Lawrence H. Goll Eminent Scholar, is a professor in molecular and cellular biology and directs the growth, obesity, diabetes section of the Edison Biotechnology Institute. He also is a professor in the Biomedical Sciences Department in the OU Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Kopchick was recognized for identifying the growth hormone antagonist, which led to the creation of a drug used to treat Gigantism. The drug has allowed OU to rank first in the state and fourth in the nation for research return-on-investments.
The prestigious Distinguished Professor award was established in 1959 and recognizes scholarly accomplishment, professional reputation and contribution to the university.
Ryu is an associate professor of public administration in the Department of Political Science and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit described him as committed, supportive and dedicated to his students. As the newest recipient of the award, he will serve as the graduate commencement ceremony speaker next spring.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi gave special recognition to Vincent Harris, a graduate student who recently won the 2012 Outstanding Masters Student Leader Award. Lombardi announced that Harris will now pursue his Ph.D. in higher education at Louisiana State University.