A record number of students are expected to graduate from Northwest Missouri State University when it hosts its spring commencement ceremonies Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 with a distinguished faculty member and an entrepreneuring alumnus delivering commencement addresses to the degree candidates and their families.

The commencement ceremonies begin at 7 pm, Friday in Bearcat Arena when Northwest confers bachelor’s degrees in its School of Education in addition to master’s and education specialist degrees. The ceremony also will recognize Northwest candidates for the doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Michael Rogers, an associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems who received the 2019 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, will address the Friday evening ceremony.

“Dr. Michael Rogers is innovative, known, respected and recognized,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “We love his focus on including bleeding-edge technology into his classes. Makerspaces, game development, app development and virtual and augmented reality are part of his language and he connects so well with our students. We enjoy having our Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipients share their thoughts with our graduates-to-be and loved ones, and we look forward to hearing from Michael.”

Brian Weaver, a Northwest alumnus and businessman with nearly 20 years of experience in leading mission-driven, high-growth technology-enabled companies, will address Saturday’s ceremonies. The university honors bachelor’s degree candidates from the school of communication and mass media, the school of computer science and information systems, the school of agricultural sciences and the college of arts and sciences at 10 am in Bearcat Arena; and at 2 pm, bachelor’s degree candidates representing the Melvin D. & Valorie G. Booth School of Business and the school of health science and wellness.

“Brian is an entrepreneur-extraordinaire,” Jasinski said. “His story is fantastic and his meteoric rise tracks back to his time at Northwest, connecting – as Bearcats do – with marketplace needs. He leads and has led mission-driven, high-growth technology-enabled companies and his current focus on artificial intelligence illustrates his ability to stay current in his field. I am confident our graduates-to-be and loved ones will find Brian engaging, relevant and thought-provoking.”

Northwest expects more than 1,000 students to receive degrees this spring. The university reports nearly 300 students will receive master’s or specialist degrees through the University’s graduate school, and more than 730 undergraduate students are expected to receive bachelor’s degrees.

Doors will open to guests one hour prior to each ceremony. No tickets are necessary to attend the ceremonies. To accommodate guests who cannot attend, Northwest will offer a live online stream of the ceremonies at nwmissouri.edu/live.   

Graduates, along with their families and friends, also are invited to interact with Northwest social media before, during and after the commencement ceremonies. Users may share their graduation memories on Twitter by using the hashtag #NWGrad or submit graduation photos to Northwest’s Flickr feed. Photos may be taken with mobile devices and emailed to nwgrad@nwmissouri.edu. Submitted photos will appear immediately on Northwest’s Flickr page at flickr.com/nwmostate/.

Candidates for graduation may pick up caps and gowns on the first floor of the Administration Building from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday, April 29 through Friday, May 3 or one hour prior to each ceremony on May 3 and May 4.