Oklahoma Secretary of Education Addresses OSUIT Grads

Sec. Natalie Shirley speaking at commencement ceremony

There was so much pride and accomplishment expressed by the more than 360 students who made up OSU Institute of Technology’s 201st graduating class, one ceremony wasn’t enough.

Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma secretary of education and workforce development and OSU-Oklahoma City president served as the keynote speaker for both graduation ceremonies held Aug. 21 in Covelle Hall on the OSUIT campus.

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2 p.m. Afternoon Ceremony

7 p.m. Evening Ceremony

If you’re beaming with pride—student, parent, professor, mentor, friend and family member—well, you deserve it, Shirley said. You all have accomplished this together and it was no easy task, but you did it. You chose a path that required more effort, more patience, more commitment, more struggle and more persistence. And you persevered.

Martin McCurdy, who graduated from the School of Information Technologies with a Bachelor of Technology in Information Assurance and Forensics as well as a Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology Enterprise Management, served as student respondent during the first ceremony Friday.

“The graduation feeling is unsettling. It’s a time in our lives when we are torn between the joys of our collegiate memories and the excitement of our skilled futures,” McCurdy said. “We all walked onto campus for the first time as students and will walk off campus as skilled professionals.”

Kevin Reed, graduate from the School of Automotive Technologies’ Automotive Collision Repair program and student respondent at the second ceremony, also spoke about the bittersweet feelings of graduating.

“I have been waiting for this day to come for a while now. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve mumbled ‘I can’t wait to graduate,’ and now that this day has come, I’m really contemplating wanting to go,” Reed said. “Unfortunately our ride at OSUIT has come to an end and as much as I’ve looked forward to this day, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss you guys.”

Shirley told the graduates that despite the stress, hard work and adversity they faced in and out of the classroom, they persevered and earned the prize of an education and a bright future.

“My hope is that from this point forward, you do two things to continue to rise above the status quo, and reach for the next prize, for your sake, for my sake and for Oklahoma’s sake— expect more of yourself and expect more from others,” she said.

“As college graduates, you now must not only expect more of yourself, you must expect more of others. You must encourage them to choose the same path you did- a path that requires more effort, more patience, more commitment, more struggle and more persistence. But a path that leads to more prizes.”

Both Reed and McCurdy said their time at OSUIT impacted their lives and helped set the course for their futures.

“I would like to send a special thanks to my family for supporting me and guiding me in the right direction and to my instructors for helping me find my true potential, which wasn’t easy,” Reed said.

Even though they all have earned their diplomas it doesn’t mean their work is over, McCurdy said, in fact, it’s just begun.

OSUIT has instilled in us a tremendous fire; a passion for creativity, innovation and a desire to improve the lives of our families, he said. We came onto campus many days ago with different backgrounds and different life experiences. We leave this campus many days later as a collective unit. We are the 201st class of OSUIT.

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