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NKU Honors over 1,700 Graduates at Spring Commencement

Am commencement
Morning Commencement Ceremony- Photo: Scott Beseler
PM Commencment
Afternoon Commencement Ceremony- Photo: Dave Bushle

May 11, 2019—  Northern Kentucky University honored nearly 1700 students at its Spring Commencement on May 11, at BB&T Arena. Family and friends packed BB&T to celebrate the students’ achievement in completing this significant milestone.

The Haile/US College of Business, the College of Health Professions and College of Informatics held their commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services held their ceremony at 3 p.m.

NKU’s recently unveiled Success by Design strategic framework identified three pillars of student success—access, completion and career and community engagement. The framework also shaped the university’s singular focus on advancing student success aligned with the needs of the region. Commencement brings the three pillars of student success together in support of NKU’s mission.

“Even though the journey hasn’t always been easy, these graduates had the persistence to overcome any challenge on their path to earning their degree,” said President Ashish Vaidya. “This accomplishment is something no one can take away and lays the groundwork to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. It’s my hope our graduates leave NKU empowered to contribute to the economic, civic and social vitality of the region.”

Saturday morning’s ceremony awarded 722 degrees to graduates. Nathan Francis, representing the College of Health Professions, addressed his fellow graduates. Francis graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

NKU alumnus Garren Colvin (’96), the president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, served as the guest speaker for both morning and afternoon ceremonies. NKU and St. Elizabeth Healthcare have created a strong partnership to address population health issues in the region. St. Elizabeth Healthcare invested $8 million to construct and equip the Simulation Center in NKU’s newest building, the Health Innovation Center. St. Elizabeth also invested to support the Institute for Health Innovation Executive Director position and is building a 70,000-square-foot medical office building at the entrance of campus. Colvin was also awarded a Doctor of Business honorary degree.

During Saturday’s afternoon ceremony, NKU honored 867 graduates from College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services. Tealie Blasingame, who earned her Master’s in Social Work, served as the afternoon student speaker.

On May 10, the Salmon P. Chase College of Law honored 132 graduates at their commencement ceremony. Erik M. Crew was awarded the Salmon P. Chase Award. NKU bestowed a total of 1,721 degrees during the 2019 Spring Commencement weekend. Learn more about our Spring Commencement graduates and award winners here. Learn more about our Spring Commencement graduates and award winners here.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit

Graduates in NKU Afternoon Ceremony
Graduates in NKU's Afternoon Ceremony- Photo Dave Bushle
Graduates in NKU Morning Ceremony
Norse basketball star Drew McDonald enjoying the Morning Ceremony- Photo: Scott Beseler