May 2016 Commencement celebrated at Murray State University

MURRAY, Ky. – Murray State University’s May 2016 Commencement ceremony was celebrated on Saturday, May 14 in the CFSB Center on the Murray campus. During the commencement program, the University awarded an honorary doctorate degree to alumnus Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, recognized the achievements of the 2016 Outstanding Students, and acknowledged the many accomplishments of the 2016 Distinguished Faculty.

The Class of 2016 featured recipients of 1,565 degrees and certificates including eight associate, 1,142 baccalaureate, 400 master/specialist and 11 doctoral program degrees as well as four graduate certificates. A total of 29 states and 23 countries were represented among students who participated in Commencement. This spring’s Commencement marked the 90th anniversary of the University’s first graduating class in 1926.

The ceremony formally began with the Presentation of Colors by the Murray State University ROTC Color Guard. Murray State President Dr. Robert Davies presided over the ceremony with a message for graduates and a Residential College Investiture. He and Acting Provost Dr. Renae Duncan administered the awarding of degrees.

In addressing the graduates, Davies said, “You will always have a home here, at the finest place we know…As you go forward, you will never be alone. There will always be a Murray State graduate in your midst…Love life, live your dreams, use your power to make a difference in the lives of others. Do this one moment, one person, one community, one world, at a time.”

Dr. Bumphus delivered the Commencement Address and received an honorary doctorate from the University. Bumphus holds two prior degrees from Murray State, including a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and a Master of Arts in guidance and counseling, and he received a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Bumphus began his career as Murray State’s Director of Minority Affairs in 1972 and has worked in higher education for three decades. Currently, he serves as president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Bumphus encouraged graduates by saying, “there are going to be many opportunities presented for you as a graduate of this very fine University…I want you today to start to dream, and dream big. Think about how you can back those dreams up with hard work and dedication.”

The Mace Bearer was Dr. Daniel Wann, Murray State’s Distinguished Professor and a faculty member in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Outstanding Seniors Madison Embry and Landon Gibbs led the candidates for degrees and also gave the valedictions. Madison Embry received a Bachelor of Arts in accounting. Landon Gibbs graduated from the Honors College, receiving the Honors Diploma with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture with an emphasis in horticulture/agronomy, along with a minor in photography.

Embry recognized the University for its dedicated faculty who have greatly impacted the college careers of all graduates, while Gibbs encouraged his fellow graduates to remember the love shown to them by family and friends.

Faculty Marshals assisting with the ceremony were Dr. Reika Ebert, Dr. Susana Bloomdahl, Dr. Michael Kemp, Dr. Robert Lyons, Matt Shultz and Gill Welsch.

Faculty were led in by the recipients of The Regents Teaching Awards for Excellence: Dr. Heath Keller, Jeffrey Wylie, Dr. Jana Hackathorn, Dr. Danielle Nielsen, Dr. David Fender, Dr. Christopher Mecklin and Elizabeth Price.

They were joined by Presidential Research Fellows Dr. James Duane Bolin and Dr. Bommanna Loganathan, Distinguished Researcher Dr. Howard Whiteman, University Distinguished Mentor Dr. David Pizzo, University Emerging Scholars Dr. Randall Bunker and Dr. Joshua Ridley, Faculty Advisor of the Year Dr. Michelle Santiago and the recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Service award, Dr. Dina Byers.

Graduates and friends are encouraged to share their memories on social media using #RacerGraduation. A variety of graduate stories and videos are available at