GV holds commencement for December 2010 graduates

Emanuel Johnson

Thousands of people turned out to the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids to see more than 1,000 Grand Valley State University students receive graduate and undergraduate degrees during the December 2010 commencement ceremony Saturday.

Before the graduates could get their degrees, the university ran through a list of guest speakers, gave a video presentation and gave out a few awards.

GVSU President Thomas J. Haas offered opening remarks and congratulated the students on reaching the end of their journeys.

“I’m so pleased that all of us are coming here today during this, Grand Valley State University’s, 50th Anniversary year, and we are here to celebrate the students who are making their own incredible milestone,” he said.

Haas told the graduates-to-be they will be more prepared for the professional world because of the skills they have acquired during their time at GVSU.

“When you were first reading about Grand Valley State University and learned about our commitment to liberal education and the idea of being taught skills that will help you become lifelong learners, you might not have been clear on what that meant,” he said. “Years later now, with many of those general education courses under your belt, I bet you are more clear now and have those skills and habits in mind and heart.”

Following Haas’ remarks and a short video presentation, the university recognized George H. Gordon with an honorary doctorate in Arts. Gordon is the director of GVSU’s advisory cabinet and an active member of the Shaping Our Future campaign, which has pursued grants and donations for several construction projects at GVSU, including the Mary Idema Pew Library.

“His passion for the arts and support for education will benefit students for generations to come,” Haas said.

President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers offered his “Common Sense 2010” speech in which he made reference to the early beginnings of the U.S. In the process of his reflection, the historian stressed the importance of living an engaged life led by common sense.

“The traditional commencement address is an obstacle on the way to business of the day. Since most could easily forego it, and graduates are not seeking or in need of advice at this event, I used my preparation time to reflect on where I am as a citizen at this stage of my life and how my public and personal beliefs coincide,” he said. “I live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and so do you. Let’s keep it that way.”

After the speech, the university conferred honorary degrees to Roman Niestrój (doctorate in business), recognized Faith M. Heikkila as a distinguished almuna and conferred degrees to each of the graduates.

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