Graduation Celebration

Graduates sing the alma mater. (Photo by Duane Zehr)

Additional images

Matt Hawkins
December 21, 2015

Nearly 400 Bradley students finished writing one chapter of life and looked forward to the next pages at the University’s annual December commencement ceremonies in Renaissance Coliseum.

The day marked a significant milestone for public relations graduate Markist Booker, of Dolton, Illinois, the first college graduate in his family.

He shared his story of overcoming obstacles to become a Bradley success story with involvement in numerous campus organizations and a summer internship at SC Johnson that led to a job offer.

“Cheat negativity, steal opportunities and run for your dreams,” Booker, the chosen student speaker, told the assembly. “I assure you I have many more dreams and the race doesn’t end here. Never be afraid to chase dreams even if means running for the rest of your life.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Chuck Stoner, professor of management and leadership, encouraged graduates to focus on stories that formed them and the world surrounding them.

“You have a responsibility with your education to actively explore all sides of stories, and more importantly, you have a responsibility to help others explore divergent stories,” he said. “Embrace the stories.”

Daniel Bachrach, an entrepreneurship graduate from Northbrook, Illinois, leaves Bradley with hopes of starting a small business. He prepared for life’s next chapter through leadership opportunities in Bradley’s Greek life and religious organizations.

“Bradley meant opportunity to me,” he said. “Without Bradley, I’m sure I never would have accomplished what I did. It's definitely been a journey, but the welcoming and encouraging environment Bradley offers was fantastic.”

Justina Risinger, a French and marketing double major from Morton, Illinois, said studying abroad in France and building relationships with faculty were the most important experiences of her Bradley years.

“Getting to know my professors so well allowed me to succeed in the classroom, and those relationships set Bradley apart,” she said. “Because of their commitment to excellence, I’m confident I received a high quality education.”

Watch a video of the ceremony.