More than 900 students are expected to graduate during Wright State University’s fall commencement ceremonies in the Wright State University Nutter Center on Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16.
The 936 graduates will join more than 120,000 alumni who are making a difference throughout Raider Country, all over Ohio, across the nation and around the world.
Wright State will hold two fall commencement ceremonies:
Graduate ceremony: Friday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.
Undergraduate ceremony: Saturday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m.
Tickets are not required to attend, but graduates are asked to limit their number of guests to no more than 14 people so that everyone can be accommodated. Seating in the Wright State Nutter Center will be first-come, first-served. Doors will open 90 minutes prior to the start of each ceremony.
The commencement ceremonies can be watched online at wright.edu/streaming and on the university’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The recorded videos will also be available on Wright State’s YouTube channel after the ceremonies.
Commencement will feature a short congratulatory video from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
The summer and fall classes of 2023 include graduates with 530 bachelor’s degrees, 376 master’s degrees, 36 doctoral degrees and 13 associate degrees.
The classes feature 180 international students from 18 different countries. India boasts the largest number of international graduates, with 145.
The youngest graduating student is 18, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. The oldest graduate is 66, earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.
Graduates by college:
- College of Engineering and Computer Science: 255
- College of Health, Education and Human Services: 204
- College of Liberal Arts: 96
- College of Science and Mathematics: 122
- Raj Soin College of Business: 183
- Lake Campus: 36
- Boonshoft School of Medicine: 61
The ceremonies will also be broadcast live on WSU-TV on Time Warner Cable channel 21.105 in the university dorms and Fairborn and regionally on AT&T Uverse channel 99 in the Dayton tab.
Notable 2023 graduates
Kamara transferred to Wright State during COVID-19. The pandemic and her being in an earlier health crisis in her native country represent why she enrolled at Wright State. That, and to be among others who, like her, love other cultures and entrepreneurial spirit.
Originally from Sierra Leone in western Africa, Kamara moved with her family to Columbus when she was 14. Kamara recalls when her native country was hit with the Ebola health crisis.
“Living through Ebola was terrible,” she said. “I saw a lot of people die. No one close to me did, but we were all worried for our lives.”
After high school, Kamara enrolled at a college near Columbus but soon wanted something different.
“At that time, it didn’t have enough diversity — there was no one like me,” Kamara said. “I wanted a college close to my family in Columbus that was diverse and with a variety of majors.”
A friend who was in Wright State’s African Student Union offered to give Kamara a personal tour. She liked what she heard about Wright State, and what she saw — especially the tunnel system.
“When I transferred, I was a biology major, but I took a global public health class, and that became my true passion. I want to do research and become an epidemiologist,” Kamara said.
“Later I added organizational leadership because I wanted to learn leadership skills.”
Central to her motivation in her areas of study is the low level of public health — especially in the area of maternal health — in Sierra Leone. She wants to eventually do something to improve those conditions.
Sydney Woods is driven. Not just by her pursuit of a master’s degree in computer science but by a broader calling that will not let go of her.
“I have a constant curiosity that is only temporarily satisfied by finding the answer to the current question on my mind,” said Woods. “It drives me in everything I do; my need to learn.”
Woods likes to collect tools to help her understand many things, including mathematics.
“Computer science can be very useful when working with complex mathematical problems,” said Woods, who also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wright State in 2021.
Over her time as a Wright State student, Woods has changed personally in many ways. Whether it be through obtaining a driver’s license, overcoming the loss of loved ones, navigating new friendships, or her discovering new abilities and passions within herself, she said her growth at Wright State has been meaningful.
“I’m so proud of how far I’ve come since I first stepped foot on campus,” she said.
Woods remembers fondly many people who have helped her at Wright State, including those she credits with leaving a lasting impression on her as a student and a person.
“I’ve learned that being curious is not a bad thing. It’s something to be proud of,” said Woods.
“I’m thankful that I took the class with that professor that told me this. I think I knew it when I was younger, and just forgot it as I grew up, so that reminder was really important to me.”
After graduation, Woods will start a new job at a local data analytics firm that supports defense contractors and the Department of Defense on projects relating to national security.
Carl Foster’s walk across the stage at fall commencement will mark the culmination of a long, difficult journey that included the foster care system, homelessness and a lack of family support.
But he persevered and looks forward to the next part of his life’s journey — helping young people who are facing the same challenges he did.
Foster will receive a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Foster’s story starts in his native Pontiac, Michigan, where he was born to a single teenage mother. He faced many challenges growing up, including poverty and family issues. He was placed in a group home and lived in various residential facilities until he was 18. During that time, he dropped out of high school and worked for various restaurants.
When he was 20, he moved to Dayton to go into Job Corps and earned a GED diploma and a culinary arts certificate.
He received help with housing and completing paperwork for college admissions through the staff at Job Corps. He lived within walking distance of Sinclair Community College, so he enrolled there and earned an associate degree in hospitality management to align with his culinary studies.
His next step was Wright State, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2015.
Today, Foster is a success coach at Dayton Public Schools. He helps students and often empathizes with their circumstances because he lived in similar situations when he was their age.
“So when I talk to the students, I have a great deal of empathy,” said Foster.
Foster understands the problems some people face because, he said, “Some study it, some lived it, and I’ve done both.”
“I’m looking into a position to put me on the pathway to becoming a high school principal,” he said. “If that means becoming a counselor or substitute teaching, whatever pathway to be a principal or work for a college with programs like Upward Bound and ISN— Independent Scholar Network — as a coordinator or director.”