With the University of Missouri's spring 2015 commencement weekend just days away, more than 350 online students can proudly count themselves among the newest Mizzou graduates, joining the nearly 275,000 living alumni around the globe. This group of online graduates ranges in age from 22 to 56 and is celebrating their academic achievements throughout 32 states and three other countries, including Canada, France and Korea.
Mizzou, too, is proudly celebrating their accomplishments with a dedicated spring 2015 online commencement ceremony for those students who have completed their education at a distance. Of the 355 graduates who have endeavored to balance career, family and online study, 66 have earned their bachelor's, and 289 are receiving their graduate and doctoral degrees, including this year's student guest speaker, Victoria Clayton-Alexander.
Clayton-Alexander is celebrating her master of arts in journalism, which she earned while working as a Southern California freelance journalist, raising two young sons and drafting a novel. Originally from Iowa, Clayton-Alexander said she struggled with the decision to go back to school, despite her success as a journalist in Southern California. "I tell people that I returned to school so I could have a good night's rest," says Clayton-Alexander. "I was going along as a writer, but there was something in me that wouldn't let me rest until I got my master's degree." She says that deep down, she knew her time would come. "I just had an epiphany: if I didn't start a master's degree program now, I was just not going to do it. Ever. The thought of never doing it made me investigate programs," she said. "Being a journalist from the Midwest, I knew Mizzou. If I was going to get my master's degree, I wanted it to be from a respected institution."
In addition to Clayton-Alexander's inspirational message to her fellow graduates, the online ceremony includes remarks from Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and e-Learning Jim Spain.
"Each class of Mizzou's distance graduates has something so distinctive to be proud of," says Kim Siegenthaler, Mizzou Online director. "These students have worked tirelessly over many months and years, juggling a host of responsibilities to realize their academic dreams. Every graduate has made education a priority in life, and we could not be more excited for all of them to celebrate their achievements with us. We encourage friends, families and fellow Tigers to please congratulate the 2015 graduates by posting kudos at the online commencement site."
Much like the on-campus commencement exercises this week, the virtual graduation experience includes activities for graduates and their supporters. Well-wishers can leave congratulatory notes for individuals or groups of online graduates in the guest book, where visitors can read inspiring messages written by others, and graduating students also can post pictures of themselves in the photo gallery.
For more information about the on-campus graduation ceremonies please visit the Registrar's commencement page.