Ball State University held two in-person Commencement ceremonies on Saturday to honor more than 1,400 Summer 2021 graduates.
The ceremonies were at Worthen Arena on Ball State’s beautiful campus.
The first ceremony honored graduates from the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning, College of Fine Arts, College of Sciences and Humanities, and Teachers College. The second ceremony honored Miller College of Business, College of Communication, Information, and Media, and College of Health graduates.
As part of a time-honored tradition, Ball State selected outstanding faculty members to address its Summer graduates. On Saturday, Dr. Jackie Grutsch McKinney, professor of English and director of the Writing Center, and Dr. Carolyn K. Shue, professor of Communication Studies, delivered their respective speeches to participating grads.
Dr. Shue has been a professor at Ball State for more than 15 years, where she has taught communications courses related to health, public speaking, and more. Her research focuses on evaluating communication processes in the clinical setting and understanding the connection between communication processes and health outcomes.
On Saturday, Dr. Shue expressed the importance of self-reflection to Ball State’s Summer graduates.
“Focusing on your own self, and what brings you joy, will never be a waste of time,” she said. “Sometimes we waste time because the answer isn’t clear. We need to think things through carefully, or sometimes we need to make mistakes and fail, so that we can advance our understanding or skills. These times of growth will never be a waste of time. Sometimes, others think we are wasting time, because they don’t see the potential in the idea like we do. Some of the best innovations have come about when we listen to ourselves, and when we have confidence in our own ideas and abilities. Believing in yourself will never be a waste of time. Please always have faith in your ability to do things in your own time.”
Dr. Shue also commended Saturday’s graduates for their perseverance and determination displayed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If there was ever a class that represented perseverance and the capacity to achieve greatness, it is you sitting in front of me today,” Dr. Shue said. “Whether you are raising money for charities, bringing awareness to political or social issues, or working to maintain academic excellence under extraordinary circumstances, each of you spent your time at BSU acting with beneficence, grace, courage, and wisdom. We are so proud of you.”
Dr. Grutsch McKinney, Ball State’s 2019 Outstanding Faculty Member Award winner, has almost 20 years of experience in administrating writing centers and writing programs. She has published three award-winning books and numerous articles and chapters in writing studies, mostly in writing center studies.
A past president of the International Writing Centers Association, Dr. Grutsch McKinney reminded graduates on Saturday of the lessons learned in their first-year writing classes at Ball State. Three of these habits, Dr. Grutsch McKinney said, include: “take a stand; understand what you’re taking a stand on; and revise as needed.”
“You will need to keep doing this for the rest of your days,” Dr. Grutsch McKinney said. “Educated people know that they do not know it all but know how to learn more. And educated people know that we haven’t learned everything we need ever, because knowledge just isn’t static.”
Accordingly, Dr. Grutsch McKinney urged Saturday’s graduates to commit to lifetime learning—one of Ball State’s key strategic imperatives.
“All this time, really, you’ve been learning how to learn,” Dr. Grutsch McKinney said. “When people talk about lifelong learning, we often think they mean something like taking up birdwatching in retirement. But lifelong learning starts now. It includes using these habits of mind you learned here at Ball State, because what makes you educated is not a diploma framed on the wall, but how you live your life.”