ODI scholars graduate to cheers from loved ones at joyful ceremony
By Aaron Marshall
More than 120 graduating seniors from ODI programs capped their college experience with a strut across the stage to cheers from friends, family, and ODI staff during a joyous graduation ceremony held before an overflow crowd at the Ohio Union's Cartoon Room.
Before the graduates received their special black and scarlet ODI graduation stoles--one young man even threw in "the griddy" dance step for good measure--they were urged by a classmate to continue to push for change in the world as a generation with "no chill."
"We as ODI scholars serve as a source of inspiration on this campus whether we like it or not," said Samay Mishra, a graduating Morrill Scholar and finance major from the San Francisco area. "Our differences and experiences have made us unique assets that can transcend traditional barriers. Our education is a testament to the people who came before us who fought for our opportunities. Our generation has no chill and will fight for anything that it believes in."
Yolanda Zepeda, the interim vice provost for diversity and inclusion at ODI, echoed that sentiment during her congratulatory remarks to the graduates. "Your dedication and desire to make the world a better place inspires me," she said. "I'm excited to see your generation continue to create a world that reflects your values."
Zepeda told the graduates that their time in college, where they had to switch gears frequently because of the pandemic, would serve as a helpful life lesson. "These last four years weren't exactly what you expected, but you handled everything that was thrown at you with resilience, adaptability, and an internal strength that will serve you well," she said.
Summer Luckey, a former English teacher who received her master's degree in school counseling, reflected on her experiences working as a coordinator for the Scholar's Lounge program at Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys. "All in all, I have come to gain a greater sense of my passions, the why that fuels my work in educational equity, and operating with an ethic of excellence," she said.
ODI's May 4 event was a more intimate precursor to the full-fledged graduation ceremonies that took place two days later at Ohio Stadium. As morning rain lifted and the skies cleared for that event, more than 12,400 newly minted alumni received degrees and certificates from the university. "Thank you for the honor of being your president," said outgoing university President Kristina M. Johnson. "Godspeed, and go Buckeyes!"