For the first time, Spring Commencement was separated into two ceremonies. This year, approximately 1,500 undergraduates and 350 graduate students accepted their degrees. Daniel Burkett, a chemistry major pursuing career as a research chemist, served as the student speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences and Bayh College of Education ceremony. Burkett lauded the Indiana State faculty for their integral role in the graduates’ college careers.

“Engaged professors taught us that we could change the world and armed us with the tools to do so,” Burkett siad. “We were never told that our dreams were too grand or that our hopes were too far out of reach.”

Burkett also commended Sycamores for their dedication to the community. “In addition to excelling in the classroom and in our careers, we Sycamores have demonstrated an unbelievable degree of selflessness,” he said. “Your selfless devotion to improving the community has earned ISU the accomplishment of being No. 1 in community service.”

Jonathan Wachala, a marketing major, addressed the graduates of the Scott College of Business, the College of Nursing, Health and Human Services and the College of Technology. Wachala encouraged the graduates to forge their own paths.

“Turning the page from a college experience to the real world is no simple task,” said Wachala. “It can be daunting, nerve-wracking and even at times debilitating. It can also be beautiful, cathartic and exhilarating. No matter what events have defined your life, this very moment you have the power to compose your story.”

Christine Hill, global customer experience strategy and management leader for Eli Lilly and Company, provided the alumni address for both ceremonies. Hill said she believes that life is a series of circumstances, but these circumstances do not solely define us.

“While life is a series of circumstances and you should embrace who you are, it is also a series of choices,” Hill said. “Decide who you want to be and make the decisions to be that person.”