Lyon College conferred 127 degrees to the 2019 graduating class on Saturday, May 11, in its 147th commencement ceremony.
Keynote speaker Dr. Thomas A. Furness, III, professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, shared on his experiences as a virtual reality pioneer and military scientist. He originally wanted to be an astronaut, but his life went in another direction that he says unfolded in ways even more favorable than he imagined.
“I pray that your journey into the heavens as you blast off will be thrilling, full of wonder and memories and that you have some good favors in your life that help you go in other directions you may think that will be better than the ones you necessarily planned on,” Furness said.
“Think about what lies ahead,” he said. “Yes, you’ll be leaving here, but you really never will leave here because you’ll be accumulating more and more of these memories as far as you go.”
Additional speakers included Taylor Donnerson, student government association president and Samantha Sharp, senior class president.
Perry Wilson, chairman of the Lyon College Board of Trustees, announced Dr. Wesley Beal, associate professor of English, as the recipient of the Lamar Williamson Prize for Faculty Excellence. The Board of Trustees established the Williamson Prize in 1979 in memory of Lamar Williamson. A memorial fund established by the late J. Gaston Williamson supports the silver cup and stipend awarded to the Williamson Prize recipient.
Dr. David Hutchison, vice president of advancement, also welcomed the graduates into the alumni community.
“We have made an investment in you to go and make a difference in the world, and I challenge you to stay invested in this place,” he said.