BHSU spring commencement ceremony to honor nearly 430 graduates

Nearly 430 graduates will be recognized during Black Hills State University's 173rd Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 6 at the Donald E. Young Sports & Fitness Center on the BHSU campus.

Nearly 430 graduates will be recognized during the 173rd Black Hills State University Commencement Ceremony.

The spring commencement ceremony is at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 6 at the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center on the BHSU campus. The public is invited to join and celebrate the students' achievements. Degrees to be awarded include 94 master's degrees, 314 bachelor's degrees, and 18 associate's degrees.

BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., will preside over the ceremony. The commencement processional will be led with the University mace, carried by Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, professor of mathematics at BHSU and the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Member. He will also deliver the Charge to the Graduates. Nag has been a faculty member at BHSU for 13 years.

Ms. Beverly Running Bear, instructor of Lakota language, will share a Lakota prayer. Dr. Chris Crawford, provost and vice president of academic affairs at BHSU, and Ms. Pam Roberts of the South Dakota Board of Regents, will offer greetings to the graduates. BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., with the assistance of Ms. Dawn Kennedy, assistant registrar at BHSU, will present the diplomas to the graduation candidates.

BHSU retiring faculty that will be recognized during the ceremony include Dr. Len Austin, professor of educational psychology, and Dr. Pamela Wegner, professor of speech and theatre.

The woman who is believed to be the oldest living BHSU alum, Berdelle Johanna Johnson Christiansen, age 103, will be present at the ceremony. Johnson Christiansen attended Dakota Territory/Spearfish Normal School in the early 1930s. The BHSU Class of 1967 will be honored for the 50th anniversary of their graduation year.

Mr. James Mortenson, president of the BHSU Alumni Association, will welcome the graduates into the Alumni Association.

The National Anthem, along with special music "Omnia Sol" by Z. Randall Stroope and "Hymn to BHSU," will be performed by the BHSU Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Nero, associate professor of music at BHSU. The recessional will be directed by Dr. Symeon Waseen and Dr. Christopher Hahn, assistant professors of music at BHSU.

The spring 2017 Commencement Ceremony will be broadcast live at for those who are unable to attend. BHSU encourages attendees to share their commencement story on social media with the hashtag #BHSU2017 in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts. A photo gallery from the ceremony will be available at after Monday, May 8.