On June 17, 2017 IPR’s class of 27 graduating students joined with family, friends, faculty, and staff for a short but memorable commencement ceremony. It was held at the Edina Studios in the Live Sound Lab. Red White (facility manager) estimated there must be, “over 250 people – because I have out every chair, including my office chair!”
Stacy Severson, Campus Director, offered a warm welcome after the processional, arranged by Kevin Bowe, ushered the graduates onto the stage. Then, as appropriate to a creative arts school, graduating Rhaelee Gronholz and Justin Burk performed several songs. “I love this school; I found my voice here,” Rhaelee told the applauding audience.
Writing instructor, Gail Milstein gave the commencement address, a turn of tables as she is usually grading students’ speeches in her Speech Communications classes. She urged our graduates to bear witness, to remember the importance of audience, and to “show up to do what you have to do as well as what you love to do.” Great advice from someone who described her subjects as “the eggplant and lime beans of IPR.”
Diplomas and degrees were presented by Trey Wodele, Associate Campus Director. Kelsey Geiger (Bachelor of Science in Applied Marketing & Management) was presented with the Valedictorian Award, and she briefly addressed her fellow graduates with an encouraging, future looking speech. Other academic distinctions (Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Cum Laude and Dual degrees) were mentioned as the degrees were presented.
Icon awards, unique to IPR, are given to one graduating student from each program. These students are selected by the faculty based on commitment, work ethic, and leadership both in and out of the classroom. The announcement of these awards at the graduation ceremony is the first time the recipients of these awards are revealed. Program chairs announce and present the Icon awards, and it can get emotional for all involved.
Kevin Bowe (Audio Production & Engineering) and Peter Greenlund (Live Sound & Show Production) both presented Icon awards to Dual Degree Rhaelee Gronholz. Trey Wodele (Digital Video & Media Production) presented Jorge Fuentes with his Icon. Scooter (Scott) Nelson (Music & Entertainment Business) presented Francisco Jose Gonzalez Martinez his Icon award, and Kelsey Geiger received her Icon award from Mitch Hare (Applied Marketing & Management).
Stacy Severson’s closing remarks told our graduates “You are here today because you persisted . . . and your ability to persist is what will see you through. May you take your passion, talent, and persistence to great success.”