2022 ODI Graduation Celebration

ODI SP22 grads in cap and gown with ODI stoles on a table

ODI Celebrates Its Spring 2022 Graduates

By Aaron Marshall

With a line borrowed from the great orator Frederick Douglass that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress,” class of 2022 graduates affiliated with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion [ODI] were hailed with an in-person graduation ceremony at Hale Hall on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

“You have achieved something that has stood the test of time,” Dr. James L. Moore III, the vice-provost for diversity and inclusion told about 100 graduates, family members, and friends gathered for the first in-person ceremony in two years. “As ODI Hall of Famer Frank Hale used to say, ‘You were born qualified, but you will leave here certified.' Your presence shows the entire world that bright minds come from every zip code.”

Photos from ODI's 2022 Spring Graduation Celebration

During the hour-long ceremony, students also heard from fellow graduates including Matthew Estrada, a Morrill Scholar earning his bachelor of science in biology. Estrada told the graduates that they were change agents who had impacted the university through their quest for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Keep making everything you touch better—as you have this university,” he said.

Graduates also heard from Dr. Kerra Carson, a longtime ODI employee who spent more than a decade working to obtain her 2022 doctorate in higher education and human affairs from the College of Education and Human Ecology. “What was important to me was to finish what I started,” said Carson who took several breaks to care for her mother. “Nevertheless, she persisted,” she added applying the rallying cry of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to her determined pursuit of her PhD.

Amanda Maxwell, a southern Ohio native earning her PhD in higher education and student affairs, credited ODI's dissertation boot camp for getting her over her final hurdle. “It was so important to me, it really gave me the confidence to dive into the data analysis,” she said. “I wouldn't be here without it…let's just say I was eyeing the summer (graduation).”

Tyler Eatman, a Pickard Scholar and a member of the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, said that ODI experiences influenced him to grow more broadly. “I really learned to branch out and try things that are new and not just stay in my own little niche,” said the sports industry major.

A New Jersey native, Eatman has parlayed an internship into a job as the assistant director of event management for the Ohio State Athletics department, working to produce sports events including men's and women's tennis, pistol, rifle, softball and fencing. “It's really about making sure the event is running smoothly and doing things more on the management side behind the scenes,” he said.