Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse conferred a record number of more than 2,200 diplomas during spring graduation ceremonies Saturday in the First National Bank Arena. Damphousse spoke during the event.
“The definition of commencement is beginning,” Damphousse said during his address. “I’m sure you are here to mark the end of a particular university experience, whether it is an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or from a graduate program. However, the learning that started here at Arkansas State is really just a beginning of what will continue throughout your life.”
During the afternoon service, Damphousse awarded an honorary doctor of humane Letters degree to Neil Griffin, a 1948 alumnus and philanthropic supporter of ASU. Griffin became the 18th recipient of an honorary doctorate in a tradition that dates back to May 14, 1934, when U.S. Sen. Hattie Caraway, D-Ark., became the first. Griffin recently gave the ASU College of Business $10 million, the largest academic gift in school history. The college has been renamed in his honor.
“I’m terribly honored to have this award,” Griffin said. “Arkansas State was a turning point in my life, so I’m very grateful for the contributions it has made to me. You can’t change your life without education. We’re in a time of a rapidly changing environment in the whole world. We alums owe it to Arkansas State to make sure that, in addition to funding for the state of Arkansas, we fund to the maximum ability of ours to get a strong and committed faculty.”
Griffin concluded by saying, “The absolute proof of the greatness of Arkansas State University is to be found in the students graduating today and those graduating in the future.”
Student Nathaniel Charles Todd of Okmulgee, Okla., was recognized during the morning service as the 90,000 ASU alumnus. As Todd stepped on the stage to receive his master’s degree in science, the ceremony was paused briefly to acknowledge the milestone.