Nearly 300 students will join the ranks of OSU Institute of Technology’s illustrious alumni following two graduation ceremonies Friday, Aug. 25, in Covelle Hall on the Okmulgee campus.
Students from the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Construction Technologies, Culinary Arts, Engineering Technologies, Information Technologies, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Visual Communications will graduate during the 2 p.m. event.
The commencement speaker at both ceremonies will be Mike Hayes, director of distributor development for Komatsu America Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., the second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment in the world.
This is Hayes first time to speak at an OSUIT graduation, but he is no stranger to the ceremony.
“I believe I have missed less than a handful of OSUIT graduations over the past 20 years,” he said. “As part of the Komatsu America Corp. Advanced Career Training program, I enjoy supporting the students that have committed to the program and can graduate.”
Komatsu and OSUIT are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a partnership that created the Komatsu ACT program to assist distributors with the training needs of the new and upcoming technicians, Hayes said.
“OSUIT was able to offer theory in the classroom and practical experience in the lab under a controlled environment. After eight weeks at schools, the student returned to the sponsoring dealership where they would participate in repairs to fortify their learning,” he said.
It’s a model a number of programs on the OSUIT campus follow including the Toyota Technician Training & Education Network (Toyota T-TEN) program in the School of Automotive Technologies.
Miguel Martinez, a student in the Toyota T-TEN program, will serve as the student respondent at the 7 p.m. ceremony.
“Being chosen as the student respondent is an honor. I really am thankful for all my teachers for believing in me,” Martinez said. “I would like to inspire all my fellow grads to keep moving forward no matter what life hits them with. That with hard work and dedication anything is possible.”
At the 2 p.m. ceremony, Lindsay McClain, School of Visual Communications student in the Graphic Design program will serve as the student respondent. In 2010, she graduated from OSU Stillwater with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology, but found she needed a more creative outlet.
“My educational experience at OSUIT has been the best educational experience of my life thus far,” McClain said. “I chose to attend OSUIT because I wanted to get my career started off on the right foot. Completing the Graphic Design program has been a great challenge that was well worth it. In just two years I have learned more than I ever would have expected and feel very prepared to begin my career.”
Watching students walk across the graduation stage and seeing their families celebrating that accomplishment is one Hayes’ favorite parts of any graduation ceremony.
“I appreciate and enjoy talking with the parents, grandparents and siblings who have also supported the graduates,” he said.