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2014 Spring Commencement Live -- May 2014
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Spring Graduates Told to be Citizens of the World

Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014 [2:56 PM]

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Lindsey Wilson College's spring graduates were told to think global, act local during Saturday morning's spring commencement ceremony.

In his commencement address, former Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru Dorin Prunariu told the liberal arts college's graduates to build their careers with a broad worldview.

"One way or another, many of us interact globally. It is highly important that we should do it with open heart and dedication, for all human beings, for our communities," Prunariu said.

The liberal arts college awarded a total of 246 undergraduate and graduate degrees at its 99th commencement ceremony, held in Biggers Sports Center before a crowd of more than 3,000 people. Combined with 418 degrees awarded in December at winter commencement, LWC's Class of 2014 is record 664 graduates, the most in the 111 years of the college. That is 57 more students than LWC's previous largest class, which was set last academic year.

In May 1981, Prunariu became the only Romanian-born cosmonaut and the 103rd human to fly into outer space. He and Russian cosmonaut Leonid Popov completed an eight-day space mission aboard Soyuz 40 and the Salyut 6 space laboratory. That made Prunariu a member of one of the world's most elite organizations: the Association of Space Explorers. The association includes persons who have completed at least one orbit of the Earth in space -- currently more than 325 individuals from 35 countries.

"As an individual, the most significant experience during a spaceflight is the human experience. … Seen from cosmic heights, our planet looks fabulous," Prunariu said. "By traveling 16 orbits around the Earth every 24 hours, one can admire all the areas on Earth."

But Prunariu said that orbiting the Earth can also be a cautionary experience.

"One can also see, unfortunately, the wounds caused to our planet by the reckless activity of man in his struggle for resources at any price, the disposal of waste in various places on our planet, the deforestation of our oxygen stocks, the Equatorial forests, and many other things," he said. "When you fly in the outer space and you see the planet as a whole, you understand the  global consequences of local activities of human communities and the need -- for our  health's sake and for the future generations' sake -- to keep our planet clean, as we keep clean our homes."

In addition to being good stewards of the Earth, Prunariu told the graduates to set and strived toward goals.

"It is of utmost importance, when we become aware enough of our potential place in society, to set goals and to start fulfilling these goals diligently," he said. "This is where the real journey of our becoming starts."

Prunariu, who received an honorary doctorate from the college, cautioned the graduates that they should not become so consumed in reaching their goals that they forget about the "human community."

"Our main individual goal is to have a better life, to ensure a future for our families and for our jobs, and a future without deprivation and  material shortages," he said. "Let us not forget that money is just a means to achieve something, not a goal in itself. Let us not forget, in this context, about human beings who have less chances than us and they may need our help."

Before the commencement ceremony, 11 members of the Class of 1964 were inducted into the Golden Alumni Society. Alumni are installed into the organization on the occasion of their 50-year reunion at the college.

The new inductees are: Rebecca Bennett Brecht of Radcliff, Ky.; Ben C. Burr of Bardstown, Ky.; Daniel William Dewald of Mount Vernon, Ohio; Kenneth George of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich.; Audrey Pederson Langos of Lancaster, Ohio; Janice Branstetter Morgan of Crestwood, Ky.; John Perin of Cincinnati; Robert C. Simpson of Lexington, Ky.; JoAnne Peden Smith of Horse Cave, Ky.; Margaret Fisher Janas Srack of Silver City, N.M.; and Neil S. Stawser of Loveland, Ohio.

On Friday, May 9, a record crowd attended the Senior Banquet, sponsored by the LWC National Alumni Association and held in Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center. That was followed by the baccalaureate service, held in V.P. Henry Auditirum.

The weekend's festivities unofficially kicked off Thursday, May 8, with the Nursing Division's pinning and recognition ceremony, held in V.P. Henry Auditorium. The ceremony included the presentation of the inaugural Elizabeth Lowe Whitfield Nursing Professional Development Award. The award is named in honor of the late Adair County native Elizabeth Lowe Whitfield, who graduated from the college and served on the board of trustees for more than 30 years. Rachel Hope Ray of White Mills, Ky., received the award.

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Click here to see more than 1,000 pictures from commemcement activities.
Click here to watch the commencement ceremony and baccalaureate service. Select the "On Demand" tab.

Scenes from Nursing's Pinning & Recognition Ceremony

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