Commencement ceremonies at the University of Missouri this weekend, May 12–14, celebrate the achievements of Mizzou’s new graduates. They also acknowledge the dedication and perseverance of graduates, including those who have earned online degrees and certificates from MU.

Christine Mathews

“Each one of us made the choice and sacrifices necessary to carve out special time to refocus our minds on higher order thinking and concepts,” says online graduate Christine Mathews, execMBA ’17. “We were constantly testing our thinking and the management of our most precious resource — our time.”

Mathews’ remarks are part of MU’s May online commencement celebration. In her address, Mathews encourages her fellow graduates to preserve the fortitude that carried them through their online studies.

“If each of us rethinks our structuring of resources a little bit, we can find a way to maintain an attitude of lifelong learning, weaving that into our life balance going forward,” she says. 

Spring commencement honors roughly 5,400 Tigers graduating in the spring or summer ’17 semesters. More than 500 of them have earned online college degrees or certificates. Roughly 72 percent of those online graduates are receiving master’s or educational specialist degrees or doctorates; 20 percent are receiving bachelor’s degrees; 8 percent, graduate certificates.

Members of Mizzou’s online class of ’17 live throughout the United States and as far away as Korea. They range in age from 21 to 66.

Dean Kristofer Hagglund of the School of Health Professions also delivers a commencement address as part of Mizzou Online’s virtual commencement ceremony. In his remarks, he joins Mathews in thanking family members and friends for the support they gave their graduates.

“It’s important that the family and friends understand that being a distance student is not easy. It takes commitment and time away from things that matter,” Hagglund says. “We consider our graduates’ family and friends part of the Mizzou family as well, because together we reached this important day.”

Mizzou Online Director Kim Siegenthaler praises the graduates and echoed Mathews’ gratitude to the MU community. “MU professors, advisers, staff and so many other people are dedicated to ensuring that distance students experience the same quality educational experience as students on campus,” Siegenthaler says. “And it’s a treat for us, as faculty and staff, to get to work with distance students who are often midcareer and have such different viewpoints to share in classes.”

Mathews’ and Hagglund’s graduation season remarks appear on Graduates can use the site to share photos, and their friends and families can write congratulatory notes in the online guest book.

For more information about the on-campus graduation ceremonies, please visit the Registrar’s commencement page at