Franklin College students celebrate graduation

More than 200 undergraduate and graduate students crossed the stage at Franklin College’s Spurlock Center gymnasium Saturday, during the school’s commencement ceremony.

The 172 undergraduate students and 31 graduate students watched Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, give the commencement address and receive his honorary doctorate of humane letters.

“Beyond congratulations, though, I want to thank you. You may not realize it, particularly on a day like today, which is rightly focused on celebrating personal accomplishment, but the degree you have earned benefits all of us. That’s because the power of learning will not only continue to change your life for the better, it will also help ensure our collective success,” Merisotis said.

“A better-educated nation is a healthier nation. It’s a nation where people are eager to contribute to their communities. It’s a nation where people can tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. The future of America depends on people like you, today, more than ever.”

James Due, senior vice president of Northern Trust in Chicago who serves on the college’s board of trustees, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

Brynne Newland, an elementary education major and Spanish and English minor delivered the senior class speech, while Franklin College President Kerry Prather said he hopes his students lead ethically and confidently.

“Wherever your future may lead, I hope you will carry forth the ideals and values learned or refined here. I hope you will think broadly and deeply, speak knowledgeably, honestly and humbly, act decisively but thoughtfully, and lead confidently, ethically and fairly,” Prather said. “I hope you will also carry forth a special love for this place that will only grow stronger in the years to come. You are Grizzlies forever. Congratulations.”