Murray State University (MSU) celebrated December 2019 Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the CFSB Center with a combined undergraduate and graduate ceremony.

A total of 750 pending degrees were conferred during the service -- including associate, bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral degrees -- with 19 states and 15 countries represented among December 2019 graduates.

The ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) Color Guard from Paducah Tilghman High School, while Distinguished Professor Stephen Lacewell served as the ceremony's mace-bearer.

During the ceremony, Claire Ghent and Cole Manion, outstanding seniors for fall 2019, led the candidates for the conferral of degrees and provided the valedictions later in the service. Ghent graduated with a degree in English education, while Manion graduated with a degree in political science/pre-professional legal studies.

Murray State faculty in attendance were led into the arena by the recipients of the Regents Teaching Award for Excellence: Crystal Coel, Katherine Hancock, Michael Bordieri, Aaron Irvin, Yousif Abulhassan, Kathy Stanczyk and Jeffrey Henry. They were joined by the Max Carman Teaching Excellence Recipient Crystal Coel; University Distinguished Mentor Daniel Wann; Distinguished Researcher Alexey Arkov; Faculty Advisor of the Year Patty Parish; and University Emerging Scholars Danielle Muzina and Bikram Subedi.

Faculty marshals assisting with the overall ceremony included Susana Bloomdahl, Traci Byrd, Heath Keller, Michael Kemp, Robert Lyons, Matthew Shultz and F. Gilland Welsch.

Murray State President Dr. Robert L. Jackson presided over the ceremony and delivered welcome messages. Jackson, along with Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tim Todd, administered the presentation of candidates for degrees.

Receiving degrees were Natalie Bailey, MBA, business administration; Jacob Cox, bachelors, telecommunications system management, summa cum laude; Halie Hunerkoch, MAED, special education/mild lbd; Amanda Kirby, BIS, integrated studies, commerce and leadership; and Valencia La'Cour, BIS, integrated studies, healthcare administration, all of Massac County.

Also: Kelsey McNichols, bachelors, psychology; Alana Short, bachelors, learning and behavior disorders/elementary, summa cum laude; Jordyn Smith, BSB, management/human resources, magna cum laude; Dillon Stoner, bachelors, occupational safety; and Chase Wilson, bachelors degree, wildlife and conservation biology/wildlife, all of Massac County.

And, Emalee Vaughn, bachelors, elementary education, magna cum laude, of Pope County.

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