Northwest Missouri State University will have 1,473 new alumni after multiple commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday.

Most of the students are spring graduates, making up the largest graduating class in school history. It’s a noteworthy achievement for students and the university, NWMSU Provost Jamie Hooyman said.

“We’re thrilled. That’s a good indication that not only are you growing, but more importantly, they’re finishing. And that’s really what’s important to us here at Northwest, is that we truly believe in every student every day.”

For Amulya Baddam, who now has a master’s degree in applied computer science, her degree represents an opportunity to start her own business in information technology.

“I just wanted to start up in my own country. I just want to go to India,” she said. “I want to show all my Bearcat services and I just want to spread all the knowledge over there.”

One of the graduating class’s biggest assets has been the resourcefulness of students, even in the face of new standards brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hooyman said.

“They have learned to be resilient,” Hooyman said. “They’ve learned to be resourceful. You know, they’ve had to seek methods of learning and their internships, many of their internships might have got canceled or changed.”

The university has a job placement rate of around 98%, Hooyman said. But she added that it’s important to look beyond just what jobs alumni are getting after college.

“We want them to be successful in whatever endeavor they do,” she said. “We, more importantly, want them to be successful in life and so we talk about things like communication skills and caring and showing empathy and building relationships and learning all those life skills that are going to take you so much further than just your job.”

“I can see (it) definitely provides everything,” Baddam said. “The main part is, like the career services, they provide all these options over there. So, even for the overseas students and everyone who are a part of Bearcats, they (can) do their best.”

In total, around 800 undergraduates, 700 graduate students and 10 doctoral candidates are receiving degrees Friday or Saturday.

Alex Simone can be reached at alex.simone@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter at @NPNOWSimone.

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