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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – More than 1,300 students were honored at Northern Kentucky University’s WInter Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 12 at BB&T Arena.

Commencement exercises were held at 10 a.m. for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Haile/US Bank College of Business. Commencement exercises were held at 3 p.m. for graduates of the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Health Professions, and the College of Informatics.

Thousands of people filled BB&T Arena to celebrate the students’ achievements. They heard remarks from NKU President Geoffrey S. Mearns, NKU professor Dr. Cecile A. Marczinski, and from their peers. 

“As you embark upon your next journey in life, please remember to light your way and to keep the passion that fuels the desire for knowledge, the desire to be better than you were yesterday, and the desire to be a light for those who might need your help alive in your hearts, minds and souls,” said Orsella Irambona, who received a dual Bachelor of Science in Finance and Business Management.

Irambona is a native of Bujumbura, Burundi who immigrated to the United States with her family in 2006. She attended Withrow High School in Cincinnati, where she learned English in just six months. Irambona received a full academic scholarship to NKU, making the President’s Honor list and the Scholar list while being involved in extracurricular activities. She plans to work for The Kroger Co.

Graduates in the afternoon ceremony heard from Jacob Cain, a native of Cold Spring, Ky. who found his passion in athletic training after an injury cut his athletic career short. 

“Adversity is universal, it’s something we all have faced and will continue to face as we move into the next stage of our life,” he said. “And as we enter the ‘real world’, our difficulties only seem to become bigger. But no matter what’s thrown at you, no matter how deep the hole, we must always find a way to overcome. Every graduate here has the talent and training to succeed.”

Cain attended NKU on an athletic scholarship for baseball, made the Dean’s List, and gave back to the community through philanthropic activities. He received a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training, and he plans to work as a graduate assistant while pursing a master’s degree. 

In all, 1,333 students were eligible to participate in Saturday’s Commencement. They include students who completed their degrees in August as well as those who completed their degrees in December.

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