By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer
For three years, Megan Mathews worked full time, took classes toward her master’s degree and still found time to mentor a teen at Madison-Grant High School.
“Our world needs a lot more mentors,” Mathews said. “This is life-changing work for both of us. I’m keeping my student on track to go to college for free through the 21st Century Scholars Program, which is a huge benefit to her. Working with her also is good for me because it gives me a break from work and school.”
Mathews will get an even bigger break from school Tuesday when she walks across the stage at Indiana University Kokomo’s commencement ceremony.
She is graduating with her master of business administration degree. Because of the degree, the Converse resident is getting a promotion in her job at McClure Oil Corp.
“I am already seeing the benefits of higher education, even before I complete my degree,” she said.
Mathews will join 546 of her peers at IU Kokomo’s commencement. The ceremonies begin 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke will award the degrees during what Sciame-Giesecke calls “one of the best days of the year.”
“It is so gratifying to see so many students achieve their goals and dreams,” she said. “These graduates will join more than 11,000 graduates who have earned their degrees on this campus. So many have gone on to enhance our region as teachers, doctors, nurses and in other professions.”
Forty percent of this year’s graduating class is first-generation college students. They represent 27 Indiana counties, six states and nine countries.
Forty-four are earning master’s degrees. Another 482 are receiving bachelor’s degrees, and 24 students are graduating with an associates degree.
The university’s nursing program has the most graduates at 165.
Peru attorney Brandon Rush will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU Kokomo Alumni Association during the ceremony. Rush is being honored for his community service.
In case of rain, there will be two ceremonies in Havens Auditorium. A 10:30 a.m. ceremony will include graduates in the School of Nursing, Division of Allied Health and School of Education. The second ceremony, at 1:30 p.m., will include graduates from the School of Sciences, School of Business and School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Outdoor ceremonies are open to the public, with seating in the Hunt Hall parking lot. Those attending ceremonies in Havens Auditorium must have a ticket. Graduates received tickets with their caps and gowns. Free parking is available on campus.
The campus will provide its first-ever live stream of the ceremonies so families who can’t attend can still watch.
Live streaming will be available at www.iuk.edu starting at 10:15 a.m.
“We want all of our graduates’ family and friends to be able to see the commencement celebration, even if they aren’t able to be in Kokomo,” said Ryan Bowman, director of alumni relations and campus ceremonies. “They will see the entire ceremony, almost like they were there in person. We think this is a great way to enhance this celebration for our students.”
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