Trent tells OSU grads to pursue life with a great hunger; graduate takes inspiring walk

Sat, May 10, 2014

Oklahoma State University alumna Dr. Tererai Trent offered an inspiring message about the power of education at OSU’s 129th undergraduate commencement Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Trent told graduates “there are two kinds of hunger. There is small hunger that wants immediate gratification. There is great hunger for a meaningful life, social justice and peace. Go into the world and make a difference. Let that great hunger drive you.”

OSU recognized Trent’s many accomplishments as a humanitarian and education activist by presenting her one of the university’s highest honors, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Trent rose from a childhood of poverty in Africa to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU while raising a family. She shattered all barriers to become a symbol of hope for women in her home village and gained widespread attention when TV host Oprah Winfrey designated Trent her “all-time favorite guest.”

Trent told OSU’s newest graduates that her time at Oklahoma State University showed her the “power of education, the power of justice and the potential of women. Without this university I would be nothing. I found courage and friendship here. This university gave me my dignity and a chance for a better life.”

Trent founded Tinogona Foundation to build, repair and renovate schools in rural Zimbabwe. Through strategic partnerships with the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Save the Children, nine schools are being built and education has been improved for nearly 4,000 children so far.

OSU held three undergraduate ceremonies Saturday honoring graduates from the College of Education; College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology; Spears School of Business; College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; College of Human Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences.

Mary Beth DavisIn the last ceremony of the day, Mary Beth Davis, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since a car accident four years ago, walked to receive her zoology degree thanks to an Esko Bionic suit and INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation in Oklahoma City.

Commencement ceremonies for the Graduate College and the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences were held Friday in Gallagher-Iba Arena.  In all, nearly 3,500 students earned degrees during OSU’s five ceremonies.