Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU commencement set for May 11

May 2, 2019

Indiana State University has announced the lineup of speakers for its 2019 spring commencement, set for May 11.

Ra'Leshia Davis of Indianapolis, who is completing a bachelor's degree in communication with a concentration in media studies, and Logan Pollard of Rosedale, Ind., who is completing a bachelor's degree in construction management, have been selected as student speakers for the ceremony at Hulman Center.

Hulman Center, which is undergoing a $50 million upgrade, remains the preferred location to host commencement because of its capacity. Guests should use the west, south and east entrances. At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates will be led to the quad in the center of campus, where they will meet loved ones.

During her time at State, Davis was a 21st Century Scholar, served on Hall Council, worked as a resident assistant and worked as promotion manager for Sycamore Video, an organization she was a part of for four years. She also served as vice president for the Zeta Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and served as the National Pan-Hellenic Council's director of inter-fraternal relations. After college, Davis hopes to produce news or work as an announcer for a media company.

"I was nominated by someone in Fraternity and Sorority Life and decided to apply because I wanted to use the resources I've learned through my time at ISU and in the communication department," she said. "I worked on my speech for six weeks before it was due because I was nervous about how I wanted to approach the story."

Davis plans to use her experiences in the communication department to urge her fellow graduates to take action.

"No matter how long it took you to receive your degree or the trials and tribulations you may have went through, you had to take action to do it and that should continue as you prepare to leave Indiana State," she said. "Indiana State has been a door opener for me and there were so many resources for a first-generation student like me that I never felt alone or left without guidance or support."

A graduate of Warren Central High School, Davis will be the speaker at the 10 a.m. ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences, Bayh College of Education and Scott College of Business.

During his time at State, Pollard served as vice president of Sigma Lambda Chi Construction Honors Society, was involved in Construction Club, served as a campus tour guide for three years, worked in the Center for Student Success and was a member of the Honors College.

Pollard's post-graduation plans include working as a project engineer for Garmong Construction Services in Terre Haute, starting in May.

"In high school, I gave a lot of speeches, mostly for a scholarship I won, and my friends convinced me to apply to be the graduation speaker because they think I'm good at public speaking," Pollard said. "I wrote my graduation speech in one night and a few weeks later when it was time to turn it in I almost didn't because I was too nervous, but I didn't want to be sitting at graduation thinking about how I should have at least tried."

Pollard plans to focus on a message of growth in his commencement speech.

"It's a testament to ISU, as well, in the fact that freshman year I never would have considered doing something like this, but I've grown quite a bit in the last four years to the point where I am semi-confident enough to give this a shot," he said. "I hope my speech reminds the graduates that we're moving into a new world and it's time to get out of their comfort zones and expose themselves to new challenges and things they aren't accustomed to."

A graduate of Riverton Parke Junior-Senior High School, Pollard will be the speaker at the 3 p.m. ceremony for College of Health and Human Services and College of Technology.

Alumni speaker for both ceremonies will be Mike Hatton, '02, an actor, comedian, writer and producer known for his work in several independent films.

"I was honored to be asked and am excited to come back to speak and inspire the graduates," Hatton said. "Terre Haute and State were a huge part of my life and I feel like I owe it to the students and faculty to come back and talk about my experiences with them."

Hatton is best known for his breakthrough performance as George Dyer in the Academy Award winning Best Picture, "Green Book".

Hatton was born and raised in Hobart, Ind., and attended Indiana State. While at State, he worked at WTHI-TV as a cameraman to put himself through school. After graduating, he was offered a job to help launch the CBS affiliate in Palm Springs, Calif. While in California, he started to train at The Second City in Hollywood. Within a few months of being in Palm Springs, he became a reporter for CBS 2's entertainment show.

After several years of juggling acting with his CBS duties, which included writing/producing dozens of commercials and infomercials, Hatton was offered the role as the on-air man-on-the-street reporter for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" until the writer's strike quashed the opportunity. Hatton decided to put his production know-how to use and raised money to shoot and star in "Shoot the Hero" with Danny Trejo and Jason Mewes. He soon founded his own production company, Ton of Hats, which has grown into a full-service production company doing indie films, corporate video7s and unscripted projects for Warner Brothers and others.

Hatton's first internationally released starring role was in "Live Nude Girls". He also wrote and produced the film, which topped the New York Times' Movie Pulse list for three weeks and stayed on the list for 12 weeks. His follow-up film, "Vigilante Diaries", was the first micro-budget film sold to HBO in over a decade. Hatton produced and co-starred in the film with producer Nick Vallelonga. The two have produced several other films together, as well as a pilot titled "Unorganized Crime".

Hatton's accolades include Hollywood Film Awards: Best Hollywood Ensemble for Green Book at the Hollywood Film Awards and Chairman's Vanguard Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

"Hard work is so important and I plan to talk about it and a good education help to fuel a work ethic," he said.

Hatton is married to Kristine Lazar (Hatton) and has a son and twin girls. Hatton hopes to lead his own network sitcom, continue to act in films and star in, and create, future projects that inspire him.

Both ceremonies will be livestreamed at A broadcast of the processionals will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to each ceremony.

Photo: - Ra'Leshia Davis

Photo: - Logan Pollard

Photo: - Mike Hatton