Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU undergraduates have three in-person commencement ceremonies

May 8, 2021

Indiana State University celebrated the accomplishments of more than 1,500 undergraduates with three in-person commencement ceremonies at Hulman Center on Saturday.

There were 1,585 students who earned bachelor's degrees from ISU's Bayh College of Education, College of Health and Human Services, Scott College of Business, College of Technology, and College of Arts and Sciences. They represent 39 U.S. states and seven countries.

Socially distanced family and friends watched proudly as graduates walked across the stage when their names were announced, but there were no handshakes because of COVID safety precautions. All 2020 graduates were invited to participate in these ceremonies.

Clyde Harris The undergraduate alumni speaker, Clyde Harris '86, shared with graduates how much he loved his time at ISU and encouraged them to give back. He also advised them to identify their goals and prioritize their time.

"You've already proven that you're finishers and that you can complete things and that you're teachable," he said. "More than anything, you need to believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to. ... Keep thinking about what you can go and do, not what you have done."

Harris is the President of Diverse Staffing Services and owner of Prime 47 steakhouse. He is from Long Island, New York.

The undergraduate student speaker, Karen Torres, a first-generation college student from Columbus, Indiana, spoke about the strength and resilience of the graduating class. Karen Torres

"We all know that going through this last year of college with the pandemic was a struggle, to say the least," she said. "But if we all made it here, through this crazy time, and to this very moment, we can make it through anything.

"The struggles of 2020 are nothing compared to those which many of us have gone through in order to get to this point."

Torres told graduates that her parents, who immigrated from Mexico before she was born, taught her the value of both education and sacrifice. For her, earning a degree in communication was a goal achieved.

"This very moment right here," she said, "is the only moment that I have been looking forward to since I was old enough to understand why my parents migrated to the U.S. and I thank God for this moment."

Addressing the graduates, ISU President Deborah J. Curtis said, "You will write your own story. A story that reveals a person who is strong, knowledgeable, and purposeful. You leave here today as this institution's promise that our graduates are difference-makers."