By Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor and Logan Pierce, Editor in Chief
The Commencement Ceremony for 2011-2012 graduates took place May 11 at the First Southern Baptist Church on Sooner Road at 7 p.m. The ceremony was free and open to the public. The speaker this year was Tinker Air Force Base’s Air Logistics Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce A. Litchfield. His previous assignment was as special assistant to the commander, Air Force material command at Tinker Air Force Base. He has also served as the director of logistics at the headquarters of the Pacific Air Forces at Hickman AFB in Hawaii.
One commencement ceremony is held each year; graduates from the fall semester and potential spring and summer graduates are eligible to participate. In the 2011 ceremony, there were 304 graduates or potential graduates who walked the stage. This year there will be about 410 people participating in the ceremony.
Graduates need to submit a degree check/application prior to graduation. This process takes approximately three to four weeks to complete, and results will be mailed to students, with graduates receiving information on time, place and how to order graduation regalia in March. The application for degree audit forms are available online or in the Office of Admissions and Records.
This is not the only commencement ceremony held for Rose State students. The RSC Dental Hygiene program will hold their ceremony on May 24 at 7 p.m. in the Communication Center. When students graduate from the program, they leave as licensed registered dental hygienists.
This year, the dental hygiene program reached a milestone. The students for the 2012 spring semester mark the program’s 40th graduating class.
Janet Turley, dental hygiene program director, joined the students outside as they posed for pictures. “They’re a very special group,” Turley said, “The cream of the crop.”
As one of only three dental hygiene schools in Oklahoma, the competition for acceptance can be daunting. “The Dental Hygiene Program is competitive and time consuming, with a structured and rigid curriculum,” Turley said, “We receive between 90 and 100 applicants for 12 places.”
For this reason, the program draws applicants from throughout the state. “On occasion, people have moved from other states to be a part of this program,” Turley said, “This year we had students who commuted to class from Stillwater, Tuttle, Edmond, Mustang and Washington, OK.”
Several traditions exist within the Dental Hygiene Program. One such tradition is the ‘purple boa ceremony.’ “On their first day, they cross over a purple boa,” Robin Graham, dental hygiene clinic instructor, said, “On the last day, the graduates are presented with a purple boa.”
In the last 32 days before graduation, a mouth with 32 teeth is brought in, with a tooth being removed each day to count down until graduation. The 12 students for the fall 2012 semester have already been selected. “Orientation starts May 31, with another orientation on Aug. 14,” Turley said, “This allows two opportunities for the students to meet as a group prior to school.”
Left: The Dental Hygiene Program graduating class put their best foot forward after completing their structured and rigid curriculum. Photo courtesy of Janet Turley