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Largest spring graduating class in NSU history looks to future

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Written by
Warren Hayes


Friends since kindergarten, Ashley M. Williams (left) and Tiffany Davis, both of Alexandria, get ready for graduation Friday at Northwestern State.

NATCHITOCHES — Alexandria residents Tiffany Davis and Ashley Williams have been friends since childhood and saw that friendship pay off Friday morning.

Both have been close since kindergarten, so they hugged and smiled at each other as they were among students to graduate from Northwestern State University during its spring commencement.

The ceremony was held in NSU’s A.A. Fredericks Auditorium because of renovation work taking place at the normal commencement site, Prather Coliseum. The change also meant NSU had to space out commencement over five ceremonies, because Fredericks can’t hold as many people as Prather.

Davis, a psychology major, said she and Williams both gave each other words of encouragement while working to obtain their degrees. Davis said she’s laid back, and Williams is a spontaneous individual.

“We just kept telling each other, when times and coursework were difficult, this will all pay off in the end. I work right now at Fort St. Jean Baptiste (State Historic Site in Natchitoches) and am looking to go to graduate school,” Davis said. “I’m worried about the economy right now and am happy to have a job. I want to get a master’s degree in psychology.”

Williams, a history and Spanish major, said she wants to travel and absorb different types of culture.

“I want to go to the Caribbean. I would like to attend graduate school in the future,” Williams said. “I love New Orleans and would love to have a job as a museum curator in New Orleans. It would get tough sometimes because I would have to drive to class in Leesville. We both had each other’s back from day one.”

Graduation ceremonies began in Bossier City Tuesday and ended Friday at NSU.

Tuesday night’s ceremony for the College of Nursing and Allied Health was held at First Baptist Church in Bossier City. Two commencement ceremonies were held Thursday in Fredericks and two more Friday.

Friday morning’s ceremony was for graduates receiving degrees in art, clinical psychology, English, heritage resources and music, along with those earning bachelor’s degrees in addiction studies, communication, criminal justice, English, fine and graphic arts, heritage resources, music, political science and psychology.

About 905 students received degrees during the ceremonies.

NSU President Randall Webb looked at the graduates Friday and told them they are special.

“This is the first time commencement exercises have been held in A.A. Fredericks Auditorium since the spring semester of 1988. At that time, we conferred 365 degrees on 363 candidates,” Webb said. “Today, and throughout this week, we are conferring 918 degrees on 905 candidates. You are part of the largest spring graduating class in the history of Northwestern.”

The guest speaker was Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a native of New Orleans. He encouraged graduates to be productive members of society.

“You may not get a job with the degree you chose to pursue,” Schedler said. “But no one can take that degree from you. Stay positive and always take advantage of every good opportunity that is presented to you. The best advice I can give you is be open to change.”

Schedler wanted graduates to also thank their family members who helped them obtain their degrees.

“There were a lot of moms and dads that sacrificed a lot of money and time to help you achieve your goal for a degree,” Schedler said. “You should honor them by going and becoming a productive citizen. Always choose a career that will make you happy; it’s not about money all the time but being happy every day in what you do.”

Natchitoches resident Darius Williams graduated with a degree in graphic design.

He said many people go to schools far away to get the college experience, but he stayed close because of family support.

“This school has a good art program. I know I made a good choice when I picked NSU,” Darius Williams said. “I’m looking for a job in the Dallas area. Without support from my family, I wouldn’t be standing in this graduation line.”


Written by demon53

May 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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