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The tassel was worth the hassle

May 7, 2019

SPEARFISH — Nearly 400 graduates were recognized during the 177th Black Hills State University (BHSU) Commencement Ceremony Saturday at the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center on the university’s campus.

Degrees awarded included 53 master’s degrees, 311 bachelor’s degrees, and 33 associate’s degrees.

BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., presided over the ceremony and offered words of encouragement in addition to proposing a challenge to the group.

“Black Hills State University is a place where anything is possible,” Jackson said. “As a BHSU graduate, inspire us. Inspire us through your words, your actions, your work, your family, and your dreams. As a BHSU graduate, engage us. Engage us through your faith, your integrity, your commitment to others, and your involvement in your community.”

He encouraged the graduates to be innovative.

“Be innovative through your sincere efforts, your openness to ideas, and through just trying,” Jackson said. “Lastly, as a BHSU graduate, imagine. Imagine a world that is safe, imagine a world that is free from illness and poverty, and is filled with hope and kindness. You represent the absolute best that Black Hills State University has to offer.”

Laura Colmenero-Chilberg delivered the Charge to the Graduates.

Beverly Running Bear, instructor of Lakota language, shared a Lakota prayer.

Chris Crawford, provost and vice president for academic affairs at BHSU, recognized the retiring faculty and directors receiving emeritus status including June Apaza, Rodney Custer, John Dixson, Dan Durben, Micheline Nelson, Priscilla Romkema, and Micheal Zehfus.

An honorary doctorate will be bestowed upon Lt. Col. Brett Theeler, who is a 2001 graduate of BHSU. Theeler, deputy chief of the Department of Neurology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, is recognized for significantly improving access to cutting edge, multi-disciplinary neuro-oncologic care for Department of Defense beneficiaries.

Dakota Board of Regents, offered greetings to the graduates. Joan Wink of the South Dakota Board of Regents will offer greetings to the graduates.

Jackson, with the assistance of April Meeker, registrar, presented the diplomas to the graduation candidates.

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