Commencement signifies a time of transition for CAFNR grads

Change and transition are typical for future College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources graduate Allison Stiens. She grew up in Maryville, Missouri, and traded one college town for another as she pursued a degree in agribusiness management in Columbia, Missouri. After graduation, Allison will transition once again, but this time to Portland, Oregon. This particular transition was initiated through a conversation at the CAFNR Career Fair.

“School went by so fast, but I’m ready to start my career and move on to the next step in life,” Stiens said. “CAFNR presented me with so many opportunities that no other college could have provided. I honestly think that our career fair is the best in the state. We bring in the best employers who offer internships that turn into full-time jobs, just like mine in Portland.”

This year, CAFNR graduation will take place on Saturday, Dec. 15, at noon in the Hearnes Center. The college expects about 200 graduates to attend in addition to family, faculty and staff. Blake Hurst, the president of Missouri Farm Bureau, will speak during the ceremony.

University of Missouri alumna Laura Friedrich is more excited than most for this year’s graduation festivities. She serves as the CAFNR student services coordinator and has been preparing for this year’s CAFNR commencement ceremony since early September.

“It’s a full semester worth of preparation and there are lots of moving pieces,” Friedrich said. “We work with the platform party [for the stage], speakers, students and Hearnes Center staff to make sure we have the right number of chairs. There are a lot of things we do to get ready for the ceremony that people don’t think about.”

The degrees and diplomas that CAFNR graduates receive aren’t concrete until long after the ceremony. The commencement ceremony occurs before final grades for the semester are posted, so graduates receive a diploma cover without a diploma.

Laura Friedrich is not the only CAFNR employee looking forward to graduation this year. John Tummons, director of undergraduate studies in agricultural education and leadership, celebrates the challenge that awaits CAFNR graduates.

“Graduation signifies the completion of an important step, but it’s also a challenge,” Tummons said. “A challenge that determines the value of the degree earned.”

The December 2018 CAFNR graduates are already racing towards meeting this challenge. From this year’s senior class, the college is graduating servicemen and women, students who have completed and published research, a multitude of those who have experienced different cultures through study abroad programs and leaders who have completed internships and contributed to each respective profession’s knowledge pool already.

By making it to graduation, CAFNR students prove they are ready to spark change and face life head-on as they put what they have learned at MU into practice from coast to coast.