Commencement in the news

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Colleges take graduations online: 'All we're doing is a placeholder'

Newly minted doctors taking oaths over Zoom. College presidents giving speeches from home. Students creating entire commencements inside computer games. Graduation has taken on a new form during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone, for now, are stadiums filled with cheers, instead replaced with teleconferences and smaller tributes to the class of 2020. Some schools have managed to hold in-person ceremonies, with students spaced six feet apart or staying in their cars. Yet most colleges have had to decide whether to reschedule ceremonies, conduct them virtually, or do both. Similarly strong interest in Wayne State University's virtual graduation offerings surprised Carolyn Berry, its associate vice president of marketing. The public institution, in Michigan, created a short video congratulating students that its schools and colleges could add onto with their own presentations. A 16-minute video of Wayne State's nursing convocation — which graduated about 130 students — got more than 1,000 views. All told, the videos have received more than 8,000 views, according to university data. Wayne State's videos featured pre-recorded speeches from administrators and also included a tribute to three students who were awarded posthumous degrees, including sociology student Darrin Adams, who died of COVID-19 in April. Despite
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3 Wayne State students to receive posthumous degrees at virtual graduation event

Wayne State University held its first-ever virtual graduation ceremony on Wednesday to honor its spring 2020 graduates under the social distancing guidelines of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual ceremony consists of digital commencements for each school or college available online for graduates, family and friends to help mark the occasion. According to the university, there are still plans to hold an in-person ceremony once restrictions are rolled back for public gatherings. President M. Roy Wilson opens up each of the ceremonies by stating, "I know this isn't what you hoped for as you worked towards this day, I didn't expect it either but I guarantee we will remember this for the rest of our lives." Wilson is then joined by messages from the provost and Board of Governors. The ceremonies conclude with speeches from each respective dean, their chosen student speakers and, of course, the conferring of degrees. The university presented three posthumous degrees to students Darrin Adams, Bri’Jon Moore and Dwayne Carrero-Berry. Although students are not together, the university encourages graduates to celebrate the day online by using #MyWSUstory to post photos and memories of their journey at Wayne State. The 2020 celebration website states: "We encourage all graduates to make this celebration their own, whether you want to watch the videos by yourself or coordinate your viewing with family and friends. "
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Man, 53, who died of COVID-19 before graduation gets posthumous degree from WSU

Colleges and universities are turning to virtual commencement ceremonies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this semester Wayne State University is also paying special tribute to three students who died before graduation. Darrin Adams, Dwayne Carrero-Berry and Bri'Jon Moore received degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and were acknowledged during the university's virtual graduation celebration on Wednesday. Adams was 53 when he died from COVID-19 earlier this month. Adams was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. While he studied he worked as a Wayne State custodian for nearly six years. Adams also participated in the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program and helped board up more than 200 abandoned houses. He leaves behind a son and daughter. Wayne State says the virtual ceremony won't take the place of the in-person commencement, details on which are still being worked out. 
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Wayne State University grants posthumous degree to student who died from COVID-19

Wayne State University granted degrees to a student who died from coronavirus (COVID-19) before he was able to finish his schooling. Darrin Adams was one of three students at the university who recently died. The two others died of other causes while Adams’ death was due to COVID-19. The board took special action to honor all three students who died before graduation. They invited their families to the university’s virtual graduation celebration. "Where there was a real good guy, you know, my best friend. And he inspired me to change my life and go to school,” said Adams’ cousin, James Brown. He said his cousin recommended he finish school and so he did. “Never have I’ve never thought about going to college, but my cousin inspired me to go,” Brown said. “He had changed his life and went to school. You know he had some challenges early on in life. We all did but he overcame.” Brown said Adams had an impressive resume. He was a member of the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program, and he was also finishing his bachelor degree in sociology. In addition to being a student, he worked for Wayne State University as a custodian for nearly six years. The faculty in Wayne State Department of Sociology unanimously voted to create an $1,000 annual scholarship in honor of Adams.
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3 Wayne State students to receive posthumous degrees at virtual graduation event

Wayne State University will hold its virtual graduation celebration Wednesday to honor spring 2020 graduates — including three students who died before completing their degree. The WSU Board of Governors took special action to unanimously approve the conferral of posthumous degrees for the students who died before graduating. The action was taken ahead of a meeting planned for Friday, to allow the families and loved ones of the students to celebrate during the virtual event on Wednesday. The three students — Darrin Adams, Bri’Jon Moore and Dwayne Carrero-Berry — will all receive their degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. WSU's virtual graduation celebration will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday. An in-person event is still planned to be scheduled for a later date once conditions allow, according to the university.
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2 Michigan COVID-19 victims to get posthumous degrees

Darrin Adams donned a green cap and gown and a big smile three years ago when he participated in commencement exercises at Oakland Community College. Adams, who was on OCC's dean's list when he earned his associate's degree, then began studying at Wayne State University, with a goal of earning a bachelor's degree for a career in sociology. But Adams' dreams were cut short when he succumbed earlier this month to COVID-19. He was only a few classes away from earning his bachelor's degree so he and another coronavirus victim, Western Michigan University student Bassey Offiong, are getting their diplomas in spite of their untimely deaths. Wayne State is planning to bestow Adams' degree during its virtual commencement ceremony on Wednesday, in addition to two other students who died of other causes before graduation. The WSU board approved the three posthumous degrees prior to its regularly scheduled board meeting, officials said Monday. During a recent interview, Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said Adams, who worked as a custodian on campus to make ends meet, had good grades and was close to finishing his degree. "It’s the right thing to do, he was so close and if this didn’t happen, he would have within months gotten his degree," Wilson said. Besides Adams, WSU will award posthumous degrees to Dwayne Carrero-Berry, who will receive a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with minors in Latino/a and Latin American studies and peace and conflict studies. He was diagnosed with a heart disease at the age of 19 and died in December 2017. Former Wayne State student Bri’Jon Moore will receive a bachelor of science degree in psychology. A psychology major, Moore dreamed of applying to nursing programs after she graduated. She died Feb. 4 at the age of 22.
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See Jack White receive honorary doctorate from WSU

Jack White received an honorary doctorate from Wayne State University during the Detroit college’s commencement event Friday. White, donning a cap and gown for the ceremony, was honored for his “dedication to the city of Detroit and significant contribution to the arts,” Wayne State president Roy Wilson said in his introduction. Wilson also detailed some of White’s philanthropic efforts in the city: His effort to restore Clark Park, how he saved the Masonic Temple from tax foreclosure and how his Third Man record plant helped revitalize midtown Detroit.
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Jack White awarded honorary doctorate from WSU

Musician and Detroit native Jack White received an honorary doctoral degree Friday from Wayne State University. He was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters during the morning commencement ceremony at the Fox Theatre. Wayne State bestowed the degree "for his dedication to Detroit and significant contributions to the arts as one of the most prolific and renowned artists of the past two decades." Jack White III was born and raised in southwest Detroit and was the youngest of 10 children. He graduated from Cass Tech High School. 
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Jack White receives his honorary doctorate from Wayne State: 'absolutely incredible'

Wearing a cap and gown for the first time in his life, donned in the green-and-gold of Wayne State University, Jack White, the Detroit-bred rock musician was awarded an honorary degree during a Friday commencement at the Fox Theatre. "As a teenager, I was a busboy in this building, so it's nice to be back here for a different reason," White said during a brief speech after being conferred his doctor of humane letters by Kim Trent, a governor on the WSU board. 
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Rocker Jack White Receives Honorary Doctorate in Detroit

Detroit's own Jack White, a singer, songwriter and business owner has added "doctor" to his list of titles. The White Stripes frontman received an honorary doctorate during Wayne State University's commencement ceremony on May 3. The school says the degree is for White's dedication to Detroit, and for his significant contributions to the arts. Born and raised in southwest Detroit, White graduated from Cass Technical High School, worked as an upholsterer and played in underground bands before founding The White Stripes. He has won 12 Grammy Awards and Rolling Stone recognized him as one of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
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Mother of 8 to graduate from Wayne State with engineering degree

Najat Machiche is a wife, working mom of eight kids and is now graduating with an engineering degree from Wayne State University.  “I go to work, I drop off the kids at school, I come from work, I go exercising, I take my kids to do activities, I cook for my kids,” she said describing a typical day. Najat has been going to Wayne State University to achieve her life-long dream of getting an electrical engineering degree. “It’s my second chance here," she said. She’s a working mom who decided to go back to school five years ago when her father came to visit from Morocco, where her entire family still live. 
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Jack White to receive honorary degree from Wayne State University

Jack White is set to receive an honorary degree from Wayne State University. The now-globally-renowned rock musician will be on hand at 9 a.m. May 3 at the Fox Theatre to receive an honorary doctor of humane letters, "for his dedication to Detroit and significant contributions to the arts as one of the most prolific and renowned artists of the past two decades," according to a WSU release. The May 3 ceremony is part of a two-day slate of commencement activities for WSU's latest graduating class of 4,000-plus students. Other honorary degrees will also go to Detroit native Florine Mark, CEO of the WW Group (2 p.m. May 2), and social-justice scholar Earl Lewis (2 p.m. May 3). 

Commencement speaker also an Amherstburg native

Wayne State University (WSU) held its commencement ceremony at Ford Field in Detroit recently with a student commencement speaker being from Amherstburg. Alexandra “Alex” Leroux spoke at the 4 p.m. ceremony on May 8. Leroux, a graduate of General Amherst High School, said graduates received an e-mail several weeks ago where they were invited to express interest and submit a draft of their speech and, as long as they were in good academic standing, be up for selection.