Nearly 1,800 eligible for degrees as class of 2006
International student to deliver commencement address

April 27 2006

Indiana State University's class of 2006 is slightly larger than last year's graduating class.

Nearly 1,800 students are candidates for degrees this spring, compared with just over 1,700 last year. The numbers break down to 1,447 undergraduates, 64 more than in 2005; 282 master's degree candidates, compared with 275 last year; 12 education specialists, an increase of four from 2005; and 40 doctoral degree candidates, three more than last year.

ISU's 135th spring commencement ceremonies are scheduled for 2 p.m. May 6 in Hulman Center.

Maulik Khatadia, an international student from India who is graduating with a bachelor's degree in accounting, has been selected as Student Commencement Speaker. Hobart Scales is this year's recipient of the President's Medal for Leadership, Scholarship and Service. Scales, of Santa Claus, will be graduating with a degree in political science/legal studies. He has served as ISU's Student Government Association president for the past two years.

A record 18 students are graduating as Hines Medalists, in recognition of cumulative grade point averages of 4.0 each during their undergraduate careers. An honorary doctor of laws degree will be presented to J. Patrick Rooney, a civil rights activist and former chairman and chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Golden Rule Insurance Co.

From India to Indiana:
Student Commencement Speaker shares story of personal growth

When Maulik Khatadia left India for the United States to earn a degree at Indiana State University, he knew he would grow in knowledge, but what he didn't expect was how he would grow as a person and a leader.

"When I came here, I was shy," said Khatadia, an accounting major and the May 2006 student commencement speaker. "I didn't communicate with people. I was a little scared and a little nervous."

It didn't take Khatadia long to conquer his fears and take on leadership roles. "My objective became not just learning, but also experiencing the United States and the university, and I couldn't do that just sitting in my room," he said.

Khatadia served as Union Board president, a resident assistant and a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity.

Jan Arnett, convener of the Commencement Speaker Selection Panel, said one of the factors in the selection of Khatadia as the speaker was "his obviously genuine, heart-felt gratitude for his time as an Indiana State University student."

"In addition," Arnett said, "the panel felt his speech has the potential to build bridges between students from different life experiences."

Khatadia said he was accepted into two universities - Louisiana Tech and Indiana State - but chose ISU because of the growing business school, and because Indiana was closer to his older sister who lives in New Jersey. Khatadia grew up in Bombay, India, as the youngest of three children in a middle-class family.

"My sister had studied in the United States, and that is something I always wanted to do," he said.

Khatadia rarely gets to visit his family, but says they maintain a close relationship talking on the phone once or twice a week, and he visits his sister on holidays.

Even though Khatadia is miles away from his family, he feels like ISU has become a family, and plans to give back as an active alumnus in the future.

"Indiana State has honestly become almost like a second home to me now," he said. "Initially, I didn't know if I would stay at ISU for long, but I'm glad I did. I have had just so many opportunities to grow here."

His opportunities now include a job offer, which he has accepted, with a Big Four accounting firm - Ernst & Young, LLP, in the Washington, D.C., area. He landed the position with the help of connections made by participating in student organizations at ISU.

In his speech, Khatadia encourages his fellow classmates to open the doors of opportunity that await them.

"I will leave knowing that I have made the most of the opportunities that were provided to me, and I know that Indiana State University has become a home away from home for me, and that I will be a Sycamore for life and I am proud to say that."


Writers: Rachel Wyly, media relations student intern, (812) 237-3773, and Dave Taylor, media relations director, (812) 237-3743 or

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Story Highlights

The class of 2006 at Indiana State is slightly larger than last year. This year's student commencement speaker went from India to Indiana.

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