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Nearly 700 Graduates Saluted at Saturday Commencement Ceremonies

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University President David Eisler and College of Arts, Sciences and Education Professor Phillip Middleton were among individuals who addressed nearly 700 graduates during Saturday, Dec. 19 commencement ceremonies in Jim Wink Arena on main campus in Big Rapids.

This semester, more than 1,000 students were eligible for graduation and more than 600 participated in Saturday’s ceremonies. The morning session honored graduates from the colleges of Arts, Sciences and Education, Education and Human Services, and Engineering Technology. The early-afternoon session was the platform to recognize graduates from the colleges of Business and Health Professions.

“As a university community, we are immensely proud of each of you,” Eisler said to assembled graduates. “It is a true honor to stand before you, the Class of 2015. Today is a wonderful opportunity for you to reflect on your accomplishments here at Ferris State University. Your success is built upon the collective efforts of so many people who care about you and who take great pride in your growth and development.”

Middleton, the featured speaker of the Fall 2015 commencement ceremonies, teaches African Literature, Black Literature, Composition, English and Shakespeare. Middleton served as a Fulbright Scholar in Romania, the Sudan and Syria from 2003-04. A Ferris employee since 1989, Middleton was the 2003 recipient of Ferris’ Distinguished Teacher Award.

As Middleton addressed the Class of 2015, his presentation focused on themes of activism, democracy and tenderheartedness.

“Take your kids to school, fight diseases, love unendingly those people you are around and support this democracy. This democracy of ours needs everyone’s help,” he said. “As you grow older, as you travel the planet Earth, you will see that the world needs it reinforced, tenderheartedly, again and again and again.”

Middleton added, in closing, “Thank you for graduating from this democratic institution.”

Many of the men and women in attendance, at Saturday’s ceremonies, were parents of the Fall 2015 graduates. Middleton, like Eisler who spoke before him, recognized those parents.

“I would like to thank the parents,” Middleton said. “Thank you for your investment and for trusting your children, for caring about their future and caring about this nation’s future and caring about this thing called democracy.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured is College of Arts, Sciences and Education Professor Phil Middleton. The 2003 recipient of Ferris' Distinguished Teacher Award, Middleton addressed graduates at the two ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 19 in Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.