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May 2018 Commencement


The West Virginia University Reed College of Media celebrated its May Commencement on Friday, May, 11, at the WVU Coliseum.

This year’s ceremony featured keynote speaker Nzinga Shaw, senior vice president of community and chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena. Her address encouraged students to face the future with confidence, a positive attitude and a commitment to making a difference.

“Two of the most important days of your life were the day that you were born, and the day you find out why,” said Shaw. “You must do the thing you thought you could not do.”

Prior to her role with the Atlanta Hawks, Shaw served as Senior Vice President and Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Edelman, one of the largest public relations companies in the world. As a pioneer in the industry and the first person to hold a chief diversity and inclusion position in the National Basketball Association or any major North American professional sports league, Shaw is uniquely qualified to deliver this advice.

“Give and receive love and utilize that power to help people understand that our differences should not keep us apart, rather they should bring us together,” she said. “Make this world a better place tomorrow than it is today by positively impacting others.”

Shaw addressed more than 270 College of Media graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in Journalism (Journalism and Strategic Communications) and Multidisciplinary Studies and master’s degrees in Data Marketing Communications (DMC), Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and Journalism. Among those participating in May commencement were three of the first graduates of the College’s new DMC program: Alex McPherson, Shannon Nicholson and Alexandra Rohlf.

Prior to commencement, the College of Media recognized top undergraduate students at its annual Spring Honors Ceremony. Shannon Cunningham (MSJ, BSJ 2018) Nicholas Eckman (MSJ, BSJ 2018) and Amy Pratt (BSJ 2018) were tied as the top overall scholars, who earned the highest grade point average of the May 2018 undergraduate class. In addition, more than 50 bachelor degree candidates were recognized for their academic achievement by being awarded degrees cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dean Maryanne Reed left graduates with the advice to follow their hearts, while also letting country roads lead them home every so often.

“The most satisfying journey is one that you chart for yourself,” said Dean Reed. “That comes from digging deep and figuring out what motivates and inspires you and what fills you with a sense of mission, purpose and joy."

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