Sights and sounds of Spring 2022 Commencement

Sights and sounds of Spring 2022 Commencement

Class of 2022 VU graduates clapping and wearing caps and gowns during spring 2022 Commencement at P.E. Complex

April 30, 2022

Congratulations to our outstanding and newest graduates! Vincennes University celebrated the Class of 2022 in person at the 216th annual Spring Commencement at the P.E. Complex on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Two ceremonies took place at the Vincennes Campus, at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The ceremonies were divided by college. 

In his Spring 2022 Commencement addresses, VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson reminded graduates of the University’s motto: “Learn in Order to Serve."

Johnson said, “It is learning for service that gives meaning to our lives. It gives meaning to the things you are going to take with you. The education you have only is valuable to the extent that it makes things better for the world. Please use this education like you would any other superpower. Use it for good.”

See 2022 Vincennes Campus Spring Commencement photos

See 2022 VU Jasper Spring Commencement photos

See 2022 Aviation Technology Center Commencement photos

See 2022 ASL and Deaf Studies Commencement photos

Graduates of Business and Public Service; Science, Engineering, and Mathematics; and Technology were celebrated during the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Board of Trustees Chairman John Stachura and Honorary Doctorate recipient Jeffrey A. Harrison

Citizens Energy Group President and CEO Jeffrey A. Harrison was recognized with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business. He is the first African American to lead an Indianapolis-based utility company.

Harrison attended VU for a year before transferring to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He shared during his speech how crucial his VU experience was to his educational journey. 

He pointed to his most treasured VU memory, which was the compassion shown to him at a critical point.

According to Harrison, his family’s household income was challenging. His mother passed away when he was 14, and his father was a bricklayer. Scholarships and money from his father, assisted Harrison in paying for his first semester at VU in 1984. With the second semester approaching, his scholarship funds ran out. 

“With no money, my college career at VU seemed to come to an abrupt end,” Harrison said.

Then he met with the dean of students, who asked if he was the same Jeffrey Harrison who made the dean’s list that semester.

“I responded that I was,” Harrison said. “He told me to go home and have a great semester break. He told me that if it was my desire to come back to Vincennes University that I would be more than welcome to do so and that we would figure out how to pay for the semester later. VU ultimately allowed me to seamlessly continue my education by providing me with a loan from the University, which I paid back after graduating from Rose-Hulman. That act of compassion for my situation and my belief in my potential allowed me to continue my studies at VU, earn my bachelor’s degree of science in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman, and obtain my master’s in business administration from Indiana University, and I am forever grateful.”

Before the awarding of Harrison’s honorary degree, College of Technology graduates and Commencement Student Speakers, Karlie Pummel and Brock Wilson spoke directly to their peers. 

Wilson shared how he carried a “lucky” mechanical pencil with him throughout his VU career. During his speech, he symbolically snapped the pencil to represent the completion of his degree and the beginning of a new career.

“I have had it since the first day of class,” he said. “While this was my favorite pencil, I know now because of it, if you keep trying and never give up, anything is possible.”

Pummel’s message pointed to the strength and courage of the Class of 2022, “No matter what happens after graduation, remember you have overcome every obstacle that has come your way. Remember how hard you worked to get to this point. Every late-night study session, every minute spent on essays, tests, group projects, every note taken, every failure, and every success has led up to this pivotal moment in your life. You did that, and no one can take this accomplishment away from you.”

The celebration of graduates and their achievements continued throughout the day.

Graduates of Early College; Health Sciences and Human Performance; Humanities; and Social Science, Performing Arts & Communications were celebrated during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson and Honorary Doctorate recipient Teresa Lubbers

Retired Indiana Commission for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers was recognized with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education during the afternoon ceremony.

Lubbers said, “Higher education faces new challenges and opportunities. Ones that I know (Vincennes University) is meeting head-on as you build a truly student-centered system of higher education, so I am very honored to be recognized by Vincennes University with an Honorary Doctorate of Education. Receiving this degree today really connects me with all of you, the 2022 graduates, and the University in a very meaningful way, and I am grateful. I’m also pleased to share this honor that was given to my friend, Jeff Harrison.”

College of Social Science, Performing Arts, and Communication graduate Taven Noll was the Commencement Student Speaker.

Noll encouraged his fellow graduates to “pursue only that for which you have a deep-seated passion and interest because that is where you will succeed.” He added, “Ask yourself what is it that you value the most? What gives you purpose and allows you to live up to your highest potential? Always remember, should you ever need a guide or come to doubt yourself in times of strife, understand that you must only look within yourself to regain your path.”

VU will award a total of 2,177 degrees and certificates over three days of ceremonies to graduates representing 77 of Indiana’s 92 counties, 32 states, and seven countries. 

The University will host commencement exercises at the American Sign Language Indianapolis and Aviation Technology Center Indianapolis campuses on Friday, May 6, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Commencement at the VU Jasper Campus is Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m.