Roughly 1,800 Oklahoma State University students celebrated earning their degrees at the fall 2018 commencement ceremony in Stillwater.
Friday night’s graduate commencement was followed by two undergraduate ceremonies Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Robert H. Henry — a former university president, federal appeals court judge, Oklahoma attorney general and lawmaker — was presented an honorary doctorate of laws and spoke at both undergraduate ceremonies.
“Today, I join your loved ones, graduates, in thanking you for the gift of graduation,” Henry said. “An investment of which you can surely be proud. I wish you the very best in your exciting lives, full of change as they will be, as you are prepared to meet it as graduates of a fabulous university.”
Each commencement ceremony kicked off with the OSU Pipes & Drums Band leading graduates into Gallagher-Iba Arena, where they were seated by college.
Students from the colleges of Arts and Sciences; Education, Health and Aviation; and Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources walked across the stage first, waving to family and friends after receiving their diploma cover. Students from the colleges of Human Sciences; Engineering, Architecture and Technology; and the Spears School of Business celebrated in the afternoon.
“Robert H. Henry is a very distinguished Oklahoman,” OSU president Burns Hargis said. “He has been recognized throughout the state, nation and actually the world for his knowledge of legal matters and humanities. Robert Henry is truly a renaissance man.”
Henry began a career in public service at age 23 in 1976.
While still attending the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Henry was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He represented the district including his hometown of Shawnee for 10 years. He was elected attorney general of Oklahoma in 1986 and served until June 1991, when he became the dean of Oklahoma City University School of Law.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Henry to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was the chief judge from 2008-2010.
Henry left the court and joined Oklahoma City University again, this time as president and CEO. He served in that role from July 2010 until retiring in June 2018.
Henry left graduates with five tips including to choose their first boss carefully, use social media with caution, save money for retirement, take care of themselves and to understand that education never ends.