By Jeff Murphy, April 30, 2021
WARRENSBURG, MO – As the University of Central Missouri celebrates its sesquicentennial, the Spring 2021 Commencement exercises the weekend of May 7-9 are a new milestone in the life of the university as well as its many new graduates. A total of 1,940 undergraduate and graduate students who are completing their degrees this spring or by this summer are eligible to participate in ceremonies that take place in the Multipurpose Building.
While commencement traditionally occurs over a two-day period, the spring event has been extended an extra day to help promote social distancing and to support a safe environment for students, family and friends in attendance. Ten ceremonies are planned during commencement weekend to honor the 150-year class.
Graduation begins Friday, May 7 with the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies School of Human Services and School of Public Services at 3 p.m., followed by the School of Aviation and the School of Business Administration at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, May 8, the College of Education and students involved in the THRIVE Program will be honored at 10 a.m. Graduate ceremonies take place in the afternoon, beginning with the College of Education at 12:30 p.m., and the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies and all schools in the College of Health, Science and Technology (CHST), except for Computer Science and Mathematics, at 3 p.m. The College of Arts, Humanities, and the Social Sciences and the CHST School of Computer Science and Mathematics will honor their graduates at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Commencement ceremonies conclude on Sunday, May 9 with degrees conferred upon undergraduates from the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at 10 a.m, and the CHST School of Nursing and School of Natural Sciences at 12:30 p.m. In the afternoon, UCM will honor graduates of the CHST School of Technology and School of Computer Science and Mathematics at 3 p.m. and the School of Geoscience, Physics and Safety and School of Nutrition, Kinesiology and Psychological Science at 5:30 p.m.
Commencement is also a time to celebrate the achievements of individuals who are receiving special awards. This includes recognition of the top male and female citizens of the graduating class through Charno Awards presented on Friday to Olivia Waddell, Olathe, Kansas, at 3 p.m., and Zachary “Zac” Racy, Riverside, Missouri, at 5:30 p.m. It also includes the 2021 Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, the top award for faculty members, presented to Dr. Fran Reddington, professor and director of the Criminal Justice Institute in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, at 3 p.m. Friday, and the presentation of the 2020 Byler Distinguished Faculty Award to Dr. Dawna Lisa (Buchanan) Butterfield, professor of literacy education and English language learning, at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The university annually recognizes an outstanding faculty member as recipient of the Missouri Governor’s Excellence in Education Award. This year’s recipient is Dr. Julie Hentges, professor of education, program coordinator for the Master of Science in Education/Curriculum and Instruction. She will be honored during the 10 a.m. ceremony on Saturday.
Guest speakers during each ceremony will include award recipients and select representatives of the graduating class, faculty members, along with participation from UCM administrative leaders and members of the Board of Governors. A representative of the UCM Alumni Foundation also will speak during each ceremony.
Each ceremony will be livestreamed and will be available for viewing after the event on the UCM YouTube Channel. Visit ucmo.edu/gradlive to learn more.