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Oklahoma State University

OSU recognizes graduates during 132nd commencement

Monday, December 14, 2015

Oklahoma State University awarded approximately 1,700 degrees during its graduate commencement Friday and two undergraduate ceremonies Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena. It was the university’s 132nd commencement.  

Oklahoma State awarded three honorary doctorates to accomplished alumni during Saturday’s undergraduate ceremonies. Researcher John Niblack received an honorary doctorate in humane letters, art studio director Bill Goldston an honorary doctorate of fine arts, and former NFL running back Walt Garrison an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

Dr. Niblack spoke to graduates from the College of Human Sciences, College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, and the Spears School of Business during Saturday’s morning ceremony. He told graduates his OSU degree provided the “fundamental foundation” for his career as the head of research and development at pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

“The training for the degree that you will receive today has given you a much more sophisticated and robust base that anything that I received 55 years ago,” Niblack said. “You’re better prepared than I ever was to handle anything ahead of you for decades to come.”

Niblack said OSU graduates can compete with graduates from any other university in the country. He said that during his career people would often ask him if he received his undergraduate degree from MIT, Harvard or Yale. He would respond, “I went to Oklahoma State University, but I have a lot of people working for me that went to MIT, Harvard and Yale.”

During Saturday’s second ceremony for students from the College of Education, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the College of Arts and Sciences, Goldston told students, “You are now the enlightened ones. The torch is now in your hands. Embrace your life with loving compassion. And remember, once you’re a Cowboy, you’re always a Cowboy. Make your own life experiences and make sure you bring them back and make them part of the future of OSU.”

Goldston began breathing new life into Universal Limited Art Editions in New York City soon after he arrived at the fine art print studio in 1969. He encouraged the studio’s owners to venture into new areas of printmaking that attracted new artists and fostered expansion. He took charge of the studio in 1976 and is known for cultivating experimentation and innovation while maintaining a sense of family.

Garrison earned an OSU degree in animal husbandry in 1962 and went on to Pro Bowl career as a running back with the Dallas Cowboys, helping them win the Super Bowl in 1972. Garrison has been inducted into the Oklahoma State Hall of Honor and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. He has used his celebrity status to help OSU and numerous charities, including the Walt Garrison Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.