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Fall Commencement highlights

There were smiles, cheers and lots of photographs taken as the newest alumni took the ceremonial walk across the stage, signifying the completion of their college degrees. They were greeted by MSU President Wayne D. Andrews who offered a congratulatory handshake to each of those completing graduate and undergraduate degree requirements.

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Photo: Maria Kallas
Maria Leeanne Kallas of Springboro, Ohio, was the student speaker.

Kallas is the oldest of three children and the daughter of John and Michelle Kallas.

She is a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Special Education (Learning and Behavior Disorders) with a minor in Spanish.

“Henry Adams once said, ‘a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’  Each one of my professors have not only impacted my life, but have indirectly impacted the lives of my students. As a student teacher, I have had the unique opportunity to be on both sides of the desk. I have been able to encourage a student and see him succeed, using tactics my professors used in the classroom with me: fostering a strong student-teacher relationship, investing in the student academically and personally, celebrating success, coming alongside one another to conquer challenges,” said Kallas.

“The relationships we have made here at Morehead with our professors and peers are to be celebrated, but the relationships we have with our loved ones are to be treasured. Remember those relationships in all of your future endeavors and choose to encourage and mentor someone else, as you have been. Clothe yourself in strength and dignity, speak with wisdom, open your arms to others, and choose to find joy by laughing at the days to come.”.

A participant in the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, Kallas has designed research projects for MSU’s Celebration of Student Scholarship, Posters at the Capitol (Frankfort), Kentucky Association for Teacher Educators (Louisville), and the National Association of Professional Development Schools (Washington, D.C.) under the guidance of Dr. John H. Curry, associate professor of education, and Dr. April D. Miller, interim chair of the department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education. During her time at MSU, she has maintained a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.917 and was named a Graduate Dean Scholar. Kallas was the recipient of the Award of Merit (2014 and 2016 Celebration of Student Scholarship), People’s Choice Award (2015 Celebration of Student Scholarship) and Award of Exceptional Merit (2016 Celebration of Student Scholarship). She has made the dean’s list every semester.

Kallas has a passion for serving God and people. She was a resident advisor and served as a mentor to many students. Kallas organized annual holiday card drives for soldiers and the first Nunn Hall Prom. As a leader in Cru, a campus ministry, she led the prayer team and international team. She also invested herself in local children’s ministries during her time at MSU.

This fall, Kallas did her student teaching at Heritage Elementary and East Carter Middle School in Grayson. After graduation, she will begin teaching special education at Springboro Junior High School, the same junior high she attended as a student. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in teacher leadership and eventually school administration.

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Hogan was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

He was appointed as the 52nd Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in December 2015.

A native of Hebron, Maj. Gen. Hogan served as assistant adjutant general for the Kentucky Army National Guard. In that role, he was responsible for balancing the requirements of readiness, modernization, force structure and sustainment of the National Guard for mobilization and domestic missions. He oversaw specified units that provided wide ranging support to the National Guard’s federal and state mission sets, as well as those units that provided specialized support to civil authorities.

Most recently, he led efforts to protect the dependents of service members as the chief executive officer of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. He developed the national commission’s policies, procedures and support to highly mobile dependents of active duty military members, ensuring level treatment with respect to education issues.

Maj. Gen. Hogan was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Morehead State University in 1985. He earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2008. In 2010 and 2013, he completed the U.S. Northern Command Joint Task Force Command Course and U.S. Northern Command Joint Dual Status Commander’s Course.

For the commencement exercises, the grand marshal and mace bearer was Dr. Karen Taylor, associate professor of French, who received the 2016 Distinguished Teacher Award.

Faculty marshals were Dr. Frances L. Helphinstine, professor of English, and Dr. Dora Ahmadi, associate professor of mathematics.

Student marshals were Megan M. Kincaid and Paula R. Sloas, Graduate Programs; Zoe M. Becerra and Joseph C. Schneider, College of Science; Mark A. Curtis Jr. and Maggie I. Flanagan, College of Business and Technology; Sue E. Bostic, College of Education; Eliza G. Eaches and Albina Laskovtsov, Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The MSU Jazz Vocal Ensemble sang the national anthem and led the alma mater while MSU’s Black Gospel Ensemble, directed by Dr. Roosevelt Escalante, performed during the commencement program.

ROTC students were commissioned as part of the program.

Morehead State’s spring semester begins Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Following the ceremony, the newest alumni were inducted into the MSU Alumni Association Inc. by its president, Jason Rainey.

Additional information on Fall Commencement exercises is available by calling 606-783-2008 or online at