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Spring commencement recognizes newest graduates

Morehead State University honored nearly 1,000 graduates at ceremonies on May 14 inside the Academic-Athletic Center.   

The graduates celebrated their academic accomplishments with family, friends, loved ones and the MSU community. It included congratulations from MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan. Provost Dr. Antony Norman welcomed graduates into the MSU Alumni Association.   

The morning ceremony honored graduates of the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology. The afternoon ceremony recognized graduates from the College of Science and the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education.  

Gabria W. Sexton (Class of 2022) of Morehead served as commencement speaker representing the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Sarah Elizabeth Franklin (Class of 2022) of Mt. Washington served as commencement speaker representing the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education.   

Sexton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in gender studies. Sexton will continue her education at MSU by earning a Master of Arts in Sociology with a Chemical Dependency Concentration with plans to pursue careers in either education or counseling.  

“This is your life, your adventure. The only rules and timelines to meet are the ones that you set for yourself,” Sexton said. “Have the audacity to decide for yourself who you want to be and pursue whatever it is that sets your heart on fire.”  

Franklin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education with dual certification in Elementary Education (P-5) and Moderate to Severe Disabilities (K-12). Upon graduation, Franklin plans to pursue a career in special education, working with students with disabilities.  

“In order to believe in yourself, you first must own your worth. This is easier said than done. To own your worth, you are not defined by your grades, your achievements or your chosen profession,” Franklin said. “Our ultimate goal is to become the better version of ourselves so that we may believe in our abilities when we are setting new goals and expectations to continuously improve.” 

Morehead State University awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to alumnus and long-time MSU supporter Andy Prefontaine (Class of 1971). Prefontaine is the founder and CEO of Family Leisure Inc. and an entrepreneur who started home, property and advertising businesses. He is also the founder and CEO of Sierra Advertising and owner of Pendelton Pike Properties, Watson’s Properties and Watson of Minnesota Properties. Andy and his wife, Debbie, contributed a significant major gift to create the Andy and Debbie Prefontaine Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships assisting in recruiting and retaining current and future Eagles and have recently pledged an additional major gift to continue supporting MSU and its mission, with a special emphasis on athletics.    

"All you graduates have received a very special gift and have joined a very exclusive club today. Only 7% of the world population have a four-year degree,” Prefontaine said. “And to quote an Olympian and cousin Steve Prefontaine, ‘To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.’”  

ROTC students Aqeel Anjum (Class of 2022) of Morehead; William Christopher Davis (Class of 2022) of Mt. Washington; Dylan Taylor Fryman (Class of 2022) of Lexington; Tristan P. Hoaglin (Class of 2022) of Paintsville; Nicholas Alexander Huron (Class of 2022) of Manchester, Ohio; Colton Zane Keeton (Class of 2022) of Salyersville; William Andrew Kelsey (Class of 2022) of Morehead; Cruz Antonio Ortiz-Ramirez (Class of 2022) of Cass County, Indiana; Jonathan B. Patrick (Class of 2022) of Winchester; and Danny Steven Richey (Class of 2022) of Mt. Orab, Ohio, were commissioned as a second lieutenant during the ceremony. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Gensley administered the oath.   

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View the 2022 Spring Commencement program at