Weekend of beautiful beginnings

Magical moments abound at CMU’s spring commencement ceremonies.

| Author: ​Jeff Johnston

The only things brighter than the weekend’s blue skies above Central Michigan University’s campus were the smiles of graduates, families and friends celebrating commencement.

CMU awarded more than 3,100 degrees and certificates at five ceremonies Friday through Sunday.

President Bob Davies, in his first May commencement, made history Saturday by awarding a uniquely special degree to Sharonda Wilson.

Wilson missed her own graduation from Ferris State University to attend the CMU commencement of her son, Stephan Wilson.

Davies reached out to Ferris President David Eisler for permission to present Sharonda Wilson’s degree on his behalf.

The tearful moment brought a standing ovation for mother and son and spread far and wide in over social media and in news outlets worldwide, including CNN, Today, BuzzFeed News, ABC World News Tonight and BET.

Graduates also heard from keynote speakers Raymond Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, at Friday’s doctoral ceremony; author and management consultant Subir Chowdhury at the 9 a.m. Saturday commencement; Sarah Rowley Opperman, retired vice president of global government affairs and public policy at The Dow Chemical Company, at the 1:30 p.m. Saturday commencement; Joseph Mancewicz, senior software engineer in NVIDIA's Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence group, at the 6 p.m. Saturday commencement; and Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the American Association of Medical Colleges, at the Sunday afternoon College of Medicine commencement.

This was Michael Gealt’s final CMU commencement as provost. He steps down June 30, succeeded by Mary Schutten.
PHOTOS FROM COMMENCEMENT: Proud moments were everywhere at CMU's weekend graduation ceremonies. See more scenes from the doctoral, undergraduate and graduate, and College of Medicine ceremonies.
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