Muskingum University held its 29th Graduate Commencement Ceremony virtually on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Degrees were presented to the University’s inaugural graduating class of the Master of Occupational Therapy program and to the graduating classes of the longstanding Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, and Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology programs.
“Graduates, you have prepared yourselves to meet critical societal needs in our region and beyond, and you have reached this milestone by turning challenges into opportunities, during this pandemic and before,” said Muskingum University President Susan S. Hasseler. “I am confident that you will continue to transform the lives of others, especially during times of great change.”
Distinguished educator Tami Bowling Fitzgerald addressed the graduates as principal speaker and was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. A National Board Certified Teacher and State of Ohio Master Teacher, Ms. Fitzgerald taught science for 34 years at West Muskingum High School as well as a variety of education courses as an adjunct professor at Muskingum University. She has served as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, helped develop a STEM Mentoring Café program with the U.S. Departments of Education and Energy, and represented science teachers at the White House STEM Master Teacher Corps Roundtable.
“Muskingum University positively influenced my life in many ways, setting me on the path of stepping forward and being a leader,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. She challenged the Class of 2021 to step forward and lead, and to abide by three guiding principles in serving others: “First, always ask ‘How Can I Help?’ Next, ‘Stay Thirsty,’ and always strive to go higher. Lastly, always ‘Fail Forward’ and propel through challenges.”
Dr. Fitzgerald has received numerous recognitions, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Top Ten Educators of the Year Award, American Red Cross Hometown Education Hero, and most recently the Muskingum County Women of Achievement 2020 Winifred K. Vogt Education Award. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry (1981) and her Master of Education degree (1998) from Muskingum University.