BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVDN) – West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) celebrated nearly 200 graduates who completed their degrees on Saturday, May 6, at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
Graduates from the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences, the College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, the WVU School of Nursing – Beckley Campus and the hospitality (culinary) program through WVU Potomac State, a program hosted on WVU Tech’s campus, walked across the stage following remarks from their peers.
Student Government Association (SGA) President Mauro Maminta spoke fondly of his time at Tech.
“This school defied my expectations of what college would be,” he said.
Each winner of the Leonard C. Nelson Presidential Leadership Award also spoke. The award, established in 1978, has historically selected one student from each college. The winners were Valentina Abondano Perdomo from the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences, Mackenzie Siersma from the College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences and Carley Knuckles from the WVU School of Nursing – Beckley Campus.
Siersma, from Zeeland, Michigan, shared encouraging words with her peers.
“Have confidence in yourself as you go out today because you are one of a kind and truly a masterpiece in every way imaginable. Have the courage to follow your heart and trust in it,” she said.
Perdomo, from Bogota, Colombia, graduated in December 2022 and has moved to Wisconsin as an assistant scientist at Thermo-Fisher Scientific.
“Today, I ask you all to take a deep breath, look around, and realize that the thing you have been desiring for so long is finally here. Remember to stop occasionally and see how far you have come,” she said.
Knuckles, from Beaver, West Virginia, also shared some positive words with the class of 2023.
“Be that positive force. Believe in the abilities of yourself and others. It is okay to not be okay, to not understand, but as long as we are making an effort to grow and empower, I think we will be okay,” she said.
WVU Tech Campus President Dr. T. Ramon Stuart also shared remarks after conferring degrees.
“Some of you are first-generation college students, and some of you are second-generation Golden Bears. But what all of you are, are the best of Tech,” Stuart said, noting that this class persisted through the pandemic to achieve their degrees.
The Golden Bear Alumni Association (TGBAA) President Mike Fry welcomed the new graduates into TGBAA. TGBAA does not require dues or fees to be in the association.
“We ask that you stay connected and engaged so that we can continue to support one another, future Golden Bears and our beloved Alma Mater with your time, talent and treasure,” he said.
Next year’s commencement ceremonies will be Saturday, May 4, 2024.