This weekend, nearly 2,600 students will walk across the stage, diplomas in hand, ready to start the next phase of their lives. Whether they are planning to continue their education or enter the workforce, I would like to take a moment to congratulate them.
We will also honor the accomplishments and contributions of six outstanding individuals: honorary degree recipients Thanu Kulachol, Melissa McCarthy and Charles Neblett, and distinguished service award recipients Richard Blaudow and Jim and Vicki Blair.
On behalf of the entire university, I thank each of our graduates, honored alumni and friends for letting us be a part of their success.
Our graduates are embarking on a new journey at the same time that SIU is celebrating its 150th Anniversary.
Throughout the year, we are celebrating our Saluki TRADITION, Saluki PRIDE and Saluki PROMISE — representing our past, present and future as an institution. But those themes echo throughout their individual accomplishments, as well.
They will benefit from 150 years of strong Saluki TRADITION. That tradition includes outstanding faculty dedicated to helping students learn within and beyond the classroom. It includes a dedication to research and creativity, inclusivity and accessibility. And, it includes a commitment to ensuring that our students succeed.
Our new graduates and alumni are our Saluki PRIDE. SIU has more than 250,000 proud alumni. They made personal connections that will last throughout their lives, and they translated success at SIU into success throughout their careers.
They are also a critical part of our Saluki PROMISE. As a member of the Saluki family, our alumni are always welcome to visit campus often to connect with the next generation of SIU students, share knowledge, catch a game, and more.
Our graduates will always be part of SIU, and that connection will help us build a better future.