Dec. 17, 2022 - Northern Kentucky University honored more than 1,300 graduates with family and friends looking on at the 50th Annual Commencement exercises Saturday at Truist Arena.
Graduates from the College of Education, College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Informatics were honored in a ceremony at 10 a.m., while Haile College of Business and College of Health and Human Services graduates were honored at a ceremony at 3 p.m.
Thousands of people packed into Truist Arena to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2022. Among the more than 1,300 students who earned degrees on Saturday, including students who finished in both August and December, 336 are first-generation students and 222 are under-represented minority learners.
Saturday morning, student speaker Abbygail Wright addressed the crowd. Abbygail graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations and history. During her time at NKU, she had multiple President’s and Dean’s List appearances. She was involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America, and Alpha Phi Omega, and has held leadership roles in both organizations. Wright was born and raised in Greater Cincinnati. As an active “theater kid” and lover of the arts, she developed a passion for storytelling and production that later translated into her studies. She always knew she wanted to pursue higher education and has used her time at NKU to learn and embrace new ideas and experiences. Through her studies and participation in organizations on campus, she has found a passion for service and finding ways to contribute to her community and hopes to continue to do so.
During the afternoon ceremony, Kasey Duncan, a native of Brookville, Ind., spoke to her fellow graduates and their families and friends. Duncan graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, minors in both social justice and human services and addictions, as well as micro-credentials in gerontology and forensic social work. Growing up, Duncan witnessed the stigmas around mental health challenges and the scarcity of resources that are common in many rural towns. Because of this experience, as early as age 14, she decided that she wanted to pursue social work to make an impact on these unmet needs in the community. During her time at NKU she worked with University Police to connect students with resources that would help them succeed. Duncan promoted inclusive excellence through working with University Police to create a training centered around LGBTQ+ history and how that can impact student-police relations. She was also a peer mentor for the Supported Higher Education Program and a volunteer for FUEL NKU, the university’s on-campus food bank.
Dr. Jonathan Cullick, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, also addressed graduates in both Commencement ceremonies. Dr. Cullick is the 2022 recipient of the Frank Sinton Milburn Outstanding Professor Award. Student Government Association President Daniel Myers also spoke.
There are now more than 77,000 Northern Kentucky University graduates living and working in every corner of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and across the globe.
About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit nku.edu.