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May 2022 Commencement

View the College of Media graduation photo gallery

On Friday, May 13, the West Virginia University Reed College of Media celebrated its May Commencement in person at the WVU Coliseum for the first time in three years.

More than 180 College of Media graduates attended the ceremony, earning bachelor’s degrees in Advertising and Public Relations, Interactive Design for Media, Journalism, Multidisciplinary Studies, and Sports and Adventure Media, and master’s degrees in Data Marketing Communications, Digital Marketing Communications, Integrated Marketing Communications and Journalism.

Graduates were addressed by keynote speaker Ron Nixon, a global investigations editor at the Associated Press who leads a team of nearly 30 investigative reporters around the world. He has earned numerous national and international accolades, including the Selden Ring and awards from the Overseas Press Club, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the Society of Publishers in Asia, among others.

Nixon stressed the importance of truth in a “post-truth era.” He gave specific examples of how the work of journalists and media professionals have exposed truths that had direct impacts on people’s lives— including when investigative reporter and College of Media alumna Margie Mason (BSJ, 1997) published a story that led to the release of Myon Burrell, a Minnesota man who was wrongly convicted of murder at 16 years old.

“You may hear or have heard that our profession is dying, or it doesn’t have the impact that it used to,” Nixon said. “Or it doesn’t matter what we do, bad things still happen. There are predictions almost daily of our demise. But make no mistake: Our profession is a great one, and the work that we do as media professionals makes a big difference.”

Following Nixon’s address, each student crossed the stage as their names were read, shook hands with their program chair and paused for a picture with College of Media Dean Diana Martinelli. Those earning a master’s degree were hooded by Assistant Dean of Online Programs Chad Mezera and Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Steve Urbanski.

The ceremony concluded with a message from Provost Maryanne Reed, who served as the dean of the College of Media for 15 years. She praised this year’s graduates for their determination.

“Be confident in who you are and the strength that lies within,” Reed said. “You have already met and overcome so many challenges, including a global pandemic. Your experience these past two years has made you resilient and adaptive, and strengthened your resolve. You’ve shown grit in the face of adversity.”

Two weeks prior to commencement, on April 29, the College of Media recognized top undergraduate students at its Spring Honors Ceremony. Robert Clark, James Gaudio, Annika Godwin, Mary Madeline Gould, Alexandra Holsclaw, Alessandra McDaniel, Duncan Slade and Holden Strausser were the top overall scholars, earning the highest grade point average (4.0) of the May 2021 undergraduate class.

Each year, faculty also select outstanding seniors from each major, based on student applications. This year’s outstanding seniors include Advertising and Public Relations majors Alexandra Holsclaw, Abigail Riggs and Rhyanna Wiethe; Interactive Design for Media major Shauntil Cash; Journalism majors Alayna Fuller, Kasey Lettrich and Duncan Slade; Multidisciplinary Studies major Ryan Cook and Sports and Adventure Media major Carli Berkhouse.

In addition, 71 bachelor’s degree candidates were recognized for their academic achievement by being awarded Latin honors, which include cum laude (GPA between 3.4 and 3.59), magna cum laude (GPA between 3.6 and 3.79) and summa cum laude (GPA of at least 3.8).