HUNTINGTON - Marshall University will mark its 182nd commencement with two separate ceremonies Saturday, May 11, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena and Convention Center.
Although the university has hosted two separate ceremonies in the past, this year's events are organized differently and include degree conferral for all levels of education at two separate ceremonies.
The morning ceremony, beginning at 9 a.m., will include bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the Lewis College of Business, the College of Education and Professional Development, the College of Information Technology and Engineering and the College of Science.
The afternoon ceremony, beginning at 2 p.m., will include bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the College of Arts and Media, the College of Health Professions, the College of Liberal Arts, and regents degrees.
"Due to increased student participation in commencement, it's become necessary to alter our ceremonies," said Sonja Cantrell-Johnson, Marshall registrar. "In order to balance attendance and accommodate all guests, we've made changes, which means each student will attend the ceremony dependent upon his or her college."
Cantrell-Johnson said at each ceremony students will be recognized individually as they cross the stage to shake hands with University President Jerome Gilbert and their academic dean, with degree conferral taking place during the ceremony finale.
Marshall will welcome two-time graduate and public relations senior executive Susan Hellems Lavenski as the keynote speaker for both ceremonies. Lavenski is CEO of Charles Ryan Associates.
A leader in issues management and strategic communications, Lavenski credits Marshall University's W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications with providing her tools for a successful career in the world of public relations and advertising. Her work has produced results that garnered state, regional and national coverage for her clients.
Beginning her career in the nonprofit world, Lavenski later spent a few years with a small agency in Clarksburg, West Virginia, before moving to Charles Ryan Associates in 1998. She has been with the firm since, advancing from senior account executive to vice president and then to CEO.
Lavenski was inducted into Marshall's school of journalism's Hall of Fame in 2017 and the same year was recognized as a "Who's Who in West Virginia Business" by The State Journal. She was also named a recipient of the West Virginia Executive 2018 Sharp Shooters Award. Lavenski serves as a board member for numerous organizations and is active across the state in a variety of professional activities.
About 1,524 students will receive degrees from Marshall, including 1,076 undergraduate and 448 graduate degrees. It's anticipated more than 1,000 students will take part in the two ceremonies.
The university will also honor West Virginia businessman, former legislator and Marshall University Board of Governors member Oshel Craigo with an honorary degree. Craigo will be recognized at the morning ceremony.
Due to security measures at the arena, graduates and guests are encouraged to arrive early and to plan for lines.
For more information, including parking, security, photograph and video details for the 182nd commencement, visit www.marshall.edu/commencement.
The May 2019 Marshall University commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed at www.marshall.edu/it/livestream.