RSU Honors Graduates at 109th Commencement

Rogers State University hosted two limited in-person commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 8 at Soldier Field on the Claremore campus. The 109th commencement honored both 2020 and 2021 graduates.

“Commencement marks a significant milestone in the lives of our graduates, and this class has shown remarkable resilience. We are proud of their commitment to education,” RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said. 

More than 600 graduates were awarded with their associate, baccalaureate or master’s degrees this year. Since becoming a university in 2000, RSU has awarded more than 9,700 diplomas.

“Awarding these degrees represents a major contribution to the education of the citizenry of Northeast Oklahoma, as well as a significant impact on our economy and quality of life,” Rice said.

The ceremony honored retiring faculty Dr. Tetyana Kyrylova, assistant professor of technology and justice studies; Dr. Vicky Reith, assistant professor of nursing; and Alan Lawless, director of the Stratton Taylor Library.

During the ceremony, Dr. Brian Andrews was presented the 2021 Pixley Excellence in Education Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a member of the RSU faculty. It recognizes excellence in all areas of faculty accomplishment: teaching, scholarship, creativity and service. The Pixley award is made possible by the Pixley Endowment for Excellence in Education at RSU.

This year’s commencement speakers were Dr. Rice, RSU president; Dr. Frank Elwell, professor of psychology and sociology; and Trent Siever, a member of the Honors Program and President’s Leadership Class.

Commencement was the first large-scale event hosted by RSU since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the past year the university has adhered to CDC guidelines on each of its campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor. Earlier this year, the university announced its intent to restore the college experience at each of its campuses with a return to full capacity in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester.

Both commencement ceremonies were recorded and can be viewed at