McNeese State graduates record class

By By Alex Onken / Special to the American Press

Watch out for flying mortarboards and tassels.

McNeese Sate University’s spring commencement ceremony took place at 10 o’clock in the morning on Saturday at Burton Coliseum. Friends, family, fellow students, and McNeese faculty gathered to celebrate the end of a four-year

journey for some, others even longer.

“It’s been a good experience. I’ve been able to play four years of college basketball, met some really good people. Traveled

a lot, been around to several different schools in the area. I ended up coming home and finishing up at McNeese. It’s been

a wonderful journey and I’m excited for it to be finally over,” said Rickie Dixon, graduating with a degree in Health and

Human performance.

“I’m not as nervous as I though I was

going to be. I’m really excited,” said Bethany McGee, graduating with a

degree in psychology.

This graduation was McNeese’s biggest graduating class, yet, with a 869 graduates in total.

“The place was packed,” said Alex Fremaux. “This was a big one.”

During his welcome speech, Dr. Phillip C. Williams, the president of McNeese State University had this to share with the new


“You will be receiving [with a college

diploma] something much far deeper than money. When you pulled together

your notes

to study for that final exam in that especially challenging

course, you not only learned the topics for that one course.

You learned some major skills that will translate in any career

you choose to pursue when the classroom instructor is replaced

with a workplace supervisor, and your classmates are replaced with


Also at the spring commencement ceremony were “golden scholars” who represented the class of 1963, who wished to be once

again a part of a graduation ceremony.

After the ceremony, recent graduates explained the feeling of walking to obtain their diploma after all their hard work.

“It was right whenever we walked in that I got really excited. All the noise and being there just made me realize that I was

actually graduating,” said Victoria Carnes, a nursing graduate.

“It was refreshing,” says Blaire Derouen when she walked to receive her diploma in general studies. “Those four years really

paid off. I feel accomplished”

“Graduating was exciting,” says Mallory Daire, a nursing graduate. “ Something I’ve been looking forward to, and I worked

really hard for. It was a long wait. I’m proud of my graduating class, especially the college of nursing.”

When asked many graduates had either

found work, decided on grad-school, or already had a job. Though some

graduates had different


“I’m actually going straight into grad-school,” said McGee on her post graduate plans.

“I have a job offer; but, I ‘m not going to take it,” said Crystal Batiste-Lee, graduating with a degree in criminal justice.

“I don’t want to move.”

“I’m taking a break! I need it. I took eighteen hours to finish up my degree; but, I plan on going back to get my masters,”

said Dixon.

“I’m going to go on vacation. Then, I’m going to take my NCLEX, which is the nursing exam that you have to take when you want

to get licensed, and then find a job,” said Carnes.

Some grads offered advice to students students still in college.

“I’d like to thank my lord and father, Jesus Christ. I’m just really excited and happy for all the graduates. McNeese isn’t

an easy school. It takes hard work to finish it [a degree], and I’m glad to have finished mine,” said Dixon.

“Don’t rush, it’s not really that big of a deal. Enjoy it. Don’t let it pass too fast,” said McGee. “I’ve seen people really

struggle during their four years here.”

“Ask five people before you make a final decision. One person could tell you something that could be wrong. Always find the

average answer.” Katelyn Soileau, an education graduate.

I’m a mother, I have seven children, and I’m married and I’m 31,” said Batiste-Lee. “I just want to say never give up on your

dreams. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”

“Today you are not just graduates,” sated Dr. Williams. “You are adults in a society that needs your skills and your passion

more than ever.”