December 7, 2019 / Vincennes University president encourages
graduates to “elevate others”
Mid-Year Commencement Photos
VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University held its Mid-Year Commencement
exercises on Dec. 7 in the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center and 486
graduates were conferred degrees or certificates.
The graduating class included eligible members from all VU sites,
including American Sign Language in Indianapolis, Aviation Technology
Center in Indianapolis, Distance Education, Early College Program,
Gibson County Campus in Fort Branch, Indiana Military Education,
Jasper Campus, and Military Education. The graduates represented 66 of
Indiana’s 92 counties, 19 other states, and one international country.
Vincennes University President Chuck Johnson praised the graduates
for their achievements and hard work. He focused his remarks around
the television documentary “Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals”.
He shared how basketball hall-of-famers Magic Johnson and Larry Bird
worked hard “every day to get just a little bit better at something else”.
“You’ve reached a milestone in your education and your development,”
Chuck Johnson said. “You should take a moment to feel good about what
you’ve accomplished, but you shouldn’t stop there. Our economy and our
world demand you take time and effort - all the time - to get better
at what you do. To keep your skills relevant. To keep growing. It’s
going to be critical to your ability to maintain a long-term career of success.”
Johnson also encouraged the graduates to elevate others. He explained
how Bird and Magic Johnson were great individual players, who also
helped make their teams better.
“They helped others be successful,” he said. “In my career and my
life, I have seen that the best way for me to succeed is helping
others to succeed as well. If you are in a team environment or you’re
working in a place where you have others you depend upon, help them
get better too. Invest in them. It’s going to pay back many, many
dividends to you.”
He wrapped up his greetings with advice about facing adversity and
taking one step forward.
“There are going to be times in your life when you feel like the
weight of the world is on me and I don’t know if I’m going to get
there, or maybe you have felt that before,” Johnson said. “Sometimes
you have to take a step back and say, ‘I may not be able to solve the
problem today, but I can take one more step toward solving that
problem or getting out of that hole.”
Dr. Laura Treanor, provost and vice president of Instructional
Services and dean of faculty, presided over the exercises. Elaine
Burklow, president of the Faculty Senate, convened the ceremony.
Diplomas were presented by College Deans Anna Miller, College of
Business and Public Service; Michelle Cummins, College of Health
Sciences and Human Performance; Joan Puckett, College of Humanities;
Ty Freed, College of Technology; and Dr. Cynthia Ragle, College of
Social Science, Performing Arts and Communication.
Linda Waldroup, vice president of Financial Services, gave the
welcome. Savannah Linenburg, interim director of the Alumni
Association, inducted the graduates into the association. The Blue and
Gold Cord Awards were presented by Adam Booher, director of Student Activities.
Curt Coffman, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and
Mathematics, recognized academic honors.
VU alumna Jayna Carie opened the ceremony singing “The Star-Spangled
Banner” and closed the proceedings with the “VU Alma Mater”. Bryce
Mattox, president of the Student Government Association, provided a
moment of reflection and a closing statement. The VU Campus Police
Cadet Honor Guard presented and retired the Colors.
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the
Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in
Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers,
and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education
Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in
Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing
and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges
statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.
In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and
certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in
technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs
in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.
VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21
other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana
campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only
college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become
President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S.
President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana
Territory. More information is available at www.vinu.edu.
Vincennes University Newsroom
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports
812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,
Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom