A record 4,496 men and women were recognized as graduates from Oregon State University in OSU’s 141st commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 12, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Reser Stadium.
All told, Saturday’s graduates included 2,274 men and 2,222 women; between them, they earned 4,695 degrees – also a record. While 3,531 graduates are from Oregon, 751 are from other states, and 204, foreign nations. The youngest graduate in this class is 19, while the oldest is 76.
In total, those students raised OSU’s historic total of graduates to 205,973.
NASA astronaut Don Pettit (OSU ’78), veteran of multiple space missions, one including a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station, delivered the commencement address. The 55-year-old chemical engineering graduate of OSU has served as an astronaut for the past 14 years and is recognized not only for his longevity and success in the space program, but his innovation in space, which has included such in-space inventions as the “zero-g” coffee cup. Pettit was awarded an honorary doctorate degree.
Frits Bolkestein (OSU ’53), a prominent former Dutch politician who served as a Minister of Defense, Minister of International Trade, a Parliament member for 17 years and a European Commission before leaving government service in 2004, was awarded an honorary doctorate. The OSU mathematics graduate is an author of 13 books and is president of the Telders Foundation, a think-tank connected with the Netherlands’ liberal party, which Bolkestein previously served as party leader.
The university also awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree to Ralph Einar Martinson, a former OSU student who stopped his studies in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, to join the workforce as a grocer in Portland, with only a half-year left to graduate. Martinson turned 100 last month, and the university recognized the Longview, Wash., resident’s lifetime of support of OSU with an honorary diploma.
Congratulations to all!