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Congratulations to the Panhandle State Class of 2017

Released by Panhandle State Campus Communications on 05/23/2017 The Oklahoma Panhandle State University Commencement Ceremony was Saturday, May 20th. —Photo by Sarah Brady The Oklahoma Panhandle State University Commencement Ceremony was Saturday, May 20th. —Photo by Sarah Brady

Goodwell, Okla. — Oscar Williams Field House was packed on Saturday, May 20 as family and friends watched over 200 graduates walk across the stage to accept their diplomas at the 2017 Oklahoma Panhandle State University Commencement ceremony.

Lead marshal Jasmine Brown-Jutras led Panhandle State faculty members and special guests to the stage to the beat of a drum cadence. Under the direction of Charla Lewis, the Concert Band performed a musical prelude, Song for the Earth. The graduates marched in to Fanfare and Processional. Boy Scout Troup #142 of Goodwell presented the colors followed by the Star Spangled Banner and the Alma Mater- Crimson and Blue sung by the Chamber Singers directed by Dr. Dee Wilkins. Reverend Mike Enright of Panhandle Centenary United Methodist Church gave the invocation.

Panhandle State President Dr. Tim Faltyn greeted the graduates and welcomed their guests to the ceremony. Dr. Faltyn encouraged the graduates to, “celebrate with great enthusiasm. Today is a great occasion and deserves celebration.” Regent Douglas Burns greeted the graduates and encouraged them to dream big, make a difference, and give back by staying a part of the Aggie family.

A posthumous degree was awarded to James Cameron III. Memorial resolutions were presented to the families of Jimmie Draper, Thomas Palmer, Ron Murphey, Rachel Wright, and Kelby Eddleman.

Student Government President Elida Esquivel addressed the graduates encouraging them to “Take your Aggie pride with you wherever you go.” She continued, “OPSU is your tree and you are the branches extending out in the world.” She charged the graduates as they faced unexpected challenges to work hard to overcome them.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) CEO Mr. Zac Perkins and Panhandle State alumnus gave the Commencement address. Perkins reflected back 17 years to the time when he was sitting in the same seats as the current graduates and said it was through the dedication and support he found at OPSU that he is where he is today. He addressed the graduates saying, “be patient, you have a lot to learn along the way. Have integrity and be true to your word.” He also reminded them, “Respect is not given, it is earned.” He added, “You have a great foundation to work on from here. Be proud of your degree; you have earned it.”

Student Services Director Rantz Trayler presented Sage Kinsey with the J.R.P. Sewell Award. The J.R.P. Sewell Award was established in 1949 and honors the memory of the late J.R.P. Sewell, a local banker and strong supporter of this University. The award promotes and encourages leadership and citizenship among the students. Graduating seniors who have completed all coursework here and have above a 3.0 cumulative GPA are eligible, and faculty vote for the winner. Sage earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and excelled in and out of the classroom as a student at Panhandle State.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Diane Murphey addressed the graduates on behalf of the Panhandle State Association of Alumni and Friends. Murphey encouraged the graduates to stay connected with Panhandle State. Each graduate received a complimentary one-year membership to the Alumni Association.

Dr. Brad Duren presented the Class of 2017 as Dr. Faltyn awarded each graduate with their diploma.

The benediction was given by the Branch President of the Guymon, Okla. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Spencer Leiter.

Congratulations and best wishes to the Panhandle State Class of 2017!