Two MTSU leaders will be joined by Tennessee’s governor May 3 and 4 to help the university’s 2,529 newest graduates mark one of their greatest accomplishments at the spring 2019 commencement ceremonies inside Murphy Center.
Chemistry professor Judith Iriarte-Gross, current holder of MTSU’s highest faculty honor, the Career Achievement Award, will speak to students receiving their master’s and doctoral degrees Friday, May 3, in the first of the university’s three spring commencement events.
The College of Graduate Studies ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 3.
Christine Karbowiak, member of MTSU’s Board of Trustees and executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief risk officer of Bridgestone Americas Inc., will address the 9 a.m. undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.
And Gov. Bill Lee, who took office in January and is concluding his first session with the Tennessee General Assembly, will speak to undergrads at the May 4 afternoon ceremony at 2 p.m.
Undergraduates from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, the Jones College of Business, the College of Education and the College of Media and Entertainment will receive their degrees in the May 4 morning ceremony.
MTSU’s commencement ceremonies are always free and open to the public. Friends, families and supporters who can’t attend in person can watch each ceremony live online May 3 and 4 via streaming video at www.mtsu.edu/live and at http://facebook.com/mtsublueraiders.
The university will provide closed-captioning services for the live video stream as well as American Sign Language interpretation at each ceremony.
Live coverage will begin about 15 minutes before each ceremony starts. Each event lasts a little over two hours.
Guests attending each ceremony should arrive early to ease traffic congestion around Murphy Center and help ensure comfortable seating for everyone inside Hale Arena.
A campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTParkingMap, and a seating chart of Murphy Center, including access for guests who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues, is available here.
Preliminary reports from MTSU’s Registrar’s Office indicate that of the 2,529 students set to receive their degrees this spring, 2,145 are undergraduates. Three hundred eighty-four students will be presented with graduate degrees, including 331 master’s candidates, 32 education-specialist recipients and 21 doctoral candidates. Three graduate students also will receive graduate certificates.
An official program, listing all the graduates, is available here.
Graduate ceremony speaker Iriarte-Gross, an MTSU Department of Chemistry faculty member since 1996, also is director of the university’s Women In STEM, or WISTEM, Center and established the first Expanding Your Horizons event for girls in Tennessee. The annual event so far has introduced more than 7,550 middle and high school girls to role models and mentors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through hands-on workshops.
Her advocacy and outreach for girls and women in the sciences have earned her multiple instances of national recognition, and in 2016, Iriarte-Gross was named a fellow of both the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
A former chemist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a chemist and lab manager in the plastics industry before joining MTSU, she received the MTSU Foundation’s Career Achievement Award, an annual prize considered the pinnacle of recognition for MTSU professors, in August 2018.
Karbowiak, the morning undergrad speaker, is halfway through her four-year term on MTSU’s Board of Trustees and currently chairs the group’s Audit & Compliance Committee. With nearly 25 years of service with Bridgestone Americas Inc., she oversees the company’s risk and reputation management departments, including communications, environmental, corporate security, safety, industrial hygiene, and internal audit, as well as government relations.
She also is a vice president and senior officer of Bridgestone Corp. and a member of the boards of Bridgestone Americas Inc., Bridgestone China Asia Pacific and Bridgestone Brands LLC and serves in multiple committee roles for Bridgestone Americas.
Karbowiak is active in community organizations and volunteer efforts, serving the Tennessee State Museum Foundation, Japan America Society of Tennessee, Tennessee Business Roundtable and Franklin American Music City Bowl. She holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Illinois.
Lee, who was elected Tennessee’s 50th governor in November 2018, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University and held several posts in his family’s home services company before taking over as president in 1992. The award-winning Lee Company now employs more than 1,200 people, and the Nashville Business Journal included Lee in its 2015 list of “Most Admired CEOs.”
The governor recently visited MTSU to learn more about a partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software that’s training mechatronics engineering majors with the same technology they’ll see once they graduate and join the work force. He praised the university’s career training then, noting that “MTSU continues to offer high-quality education and prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Graduation information — including links to maps and driving directions to MTSU, cap-and-gown information, official photographs and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — is available anytime at www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.
— Gina E. Fann (firstname.lastname@example.org)