The Richmond Register


December 15, 2013

Eastern awards 1,444 degrees at fall commencement

‘Be helpful to the world,’ Benson tells graduates

RICHMOND — Eastern Kentucky University recognized 1,444 degree candidates at its fall commencement Saturday.

A morning ceremony recognized degree candidates from the colleges of education, health sciences and justice & safety. The afternoon ceremony honored candidates from the colleges of arts & sciences and business & technology.

The keynote speaker for both ceremonies was EKU President Michael Benson, in his first year at the helm.

Benson, who assumed the Eastern presidency in August after almost seven years as president of Southern Utah University, centered his remarks on the contributions of George Washington Carver, who used his education to overcome great obstacles and make significant contributions to agricultural practices, particularly in the South.

“I commend you for this accomplishment and charge you to do something with the education and experience you have gleaned,” Benson said. “You did not earn these degrees in a vacuum, nor are you exempt from the burden to do something of benefit with your education.”

EKU’s 12th president noted the epitaph on Carver’s tombstone: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”

“Your task, my friends, is to be helpful to the world,” Benson told the graduates. “My advice to you today is simple: stay curious, do good, contribute, give more than you take, make a difference.”

Speaking as representatives of their graduating class in the morning and afternoon ceremonies, respectively, were Jami Stout, of Coal Grove, Ohio, and Colton Burgess, of Staffordsville.

Together, the two ceremonies recognized 111 associate degree candidates, 970 bachelor’s degree candidates, 342 master’s degree candidates and 21 doctoral degree candidates.

Both ceremonies can be viewed in their entirety at

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