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Graduates’ compassion for others a highlight of Oregon Tech’s Class of 2015 Graduation Ceremony

Jun 15, 2015
The Class of 2015 includes 711 individuals – inclusive of those who have completed degree requirements last Summer and Fall, Winter and Spring Terms this academic year; and another 93 who are expected to complete requirements this Summer. More than 300 students participated in the ceremony on Saturday, June 13.
The Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) Class of 2015 moved their graduation tassels to the left on Saturday as Provost Brad Burda concluded the 67th annual commencement ceremony held at John F. Moehl Stadium. The Class of 2015 includes 711 individuals – inclusive of those who have completed degree requirements last Summer and Fall, Winter and Spring Terms this academic year; and another 93 who are expected to complete requirements this Summer. More than 300 students participated in the ceremony.
This year featured speakers who are business and community leaders such as Kelley Minty Morris, State Board of Higher Education Representative and Klamath County Commissioner; Todd Kellstrom, Klamath Falls Mayor; Don Gentry, Klamath Tribes Chairman; Rafael Santiago, Oregon Tech Class of 2010 and Product Engineer at JELD-WEN; and keynote speaker, Robert Kester, Oregon Tech Class of 2004 and Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Rebellion Photonics. Oregon Tech President Chris Maples led the event with the support of Dr. Erin Foley, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students and Brad Burda, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
During this event, Oregon Tech honored faculty and administration who have given at least 10 years to the university. This included Dr. Charlie Jones, Dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Management, who served Oregon Tech for 18 years and Cheryl Meyers, who sadly passed away in April. Cheryl worked for the Office of the Provost and in other roles for Oregon Tech for 25 years.
Numerous academic accolades, volunteer experience, activity involvement, and military service were listed among the accomplishments for 2015 student award winners.
  • Hiram M. Hunt Award – Cody Bulkley
  • Most Dedicated Student Award – Miranda Barrus 
  • Oregon Tech Pride Award – Justin Millar
  • Outstanding Community Service Award – Earl Matthews
  • Outstanding Student Veteran Award – Tyler Pinson
  • Owens Citizenship Award – Daniel King
  • Student Achievement Award – Thyanna Voisine
  • President’s Senior Cup- Lindsey McDonald from the College of Engineering, Technology, and Management; Daniel King from the College of Health, Arts, and Sciences; and Megan Morse from both ETM and HAS.
Additionally, Oregon Tech awarded the Greatest Service Award to Klamath Falls resident Jim Owens with who, along with his family, has set a high standard for community involvement, including support for Oregon Tech. The Outstanding Community Partner Award was given to the Klamath Falls City Police Department (KFPD) for their on-going support of Oregon Tech and our on-campus safety office.
This year the first degrees in Health Care Management were awarded. The largest graduating major was Dental Hygiene, followed by Clinical Laboratory Science, Radiologic Science, Psychology, Information Technology, and Software Engineering Technology.
The Class of 2015 has a great future ahead of them with nearly 90 percent of Oregon Tech graduates employed or in highly competitive graduate or professional programs within six months of graduation. President Maples attributes the post-graduation success of Oregon Tech students to the university’s focus on sensible growth, rigor, and problem-solving approach based on industry demand and student ambition.
While encouraging personal scholarship is always a strong theme, this year also showcased the compassion that many of the graduates are taking with them into their new careers and endeavors. College of Engineering, Technology and Management (ETM) graduating speaker Thyanna Voisine is a shining example of this. While Software Engineering major Thyanna has been offered a job with Intel, she ultimately wants to pursue her interest in developing exoskeletons for the physically disabled. She highlighted her general education classes as helping install the technical skills in her conclusion: “It occurred to me only as I wrote this speech that all of my most profound lessons were presented to me during the ‘general education’ classes that we all avoided and complained about. While I am beyond grateful for the technical skills Oregon Tech has given me to succeed in my field, I want to thank all of the professors who went above and beyond to teach us wisdom.”
In addition to seniors sharing about their drive to pursue careers that help others, many gave thanks to the compassion that their professors and peers provided them. Biology-Health graduate Kaitlin Lindenburger wrote, “Biology-Health Sciences is a program that is more rigorous than similar programs at other universities and I am thankful for the time each professor spent with me…I feel very blessed that my undergraduate curriculum and activities helped me get into OHSU’s School of Medicine.”
College of Health, Arts and Science (HAS) graduating speaker Dylan Rogers also spoke of similar experiences after he spent the last two weeks of a term at OHSU with a blood clot. “Not only did my advisor, professors, coaches, teammates and peers care for me in the sense of their technical goals–winning baseball games, finishing a group project, teaching and testing on certain topics–but they cared for my emotional being- who I was as a person and how this emergency would affect my life,” said Dylan.
Dylan concluded his speech with the following: “Whether you are going into the medical field where patient outcomes are the gold standard–or you are an engineer and your work requires meticulous calculations–do not let the emotional aspect of caring fall by the wayside. Do not give diligent thought only to the physical task at hand, but also consider why you are doing it and whom you are doing it for. Lastly, let us remember, and reciprocate, the care that Oregon Tech has expressed to each of us over the years.”
Congratulations Oregon Institute of Technology Class of 2015.
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.
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