NMU Psychological Science Professor Josh Carlson has been selected as the sixth recipient of the Quad-L Early Career Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of learning, memory and cognition. The Quad-L trust was founded at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque by Professor Frank Logan and his wife, Julie. It recognizes the scholarly contributions of one scientist each year.
Eleven years after a stranger savagely beat him with a pool stick outside a bar and left him for dead, Travis Thetford crossed the NMU commencement stage in his wheelchair Dec. 15 to accept his diploma. The former star athlete at Escanaba High School suffered a traumatic brain injury and left-side paralysis in the wake of the attack. He has since inspired many with his perseverance and positive attitude in tackling adversity.
Steven Donley will not be attending Northern Michigan University’s Dec. 15 commencement to receive his MBA, only so that two graduating seniors he supervises at the local Best Buy can enjoy the morning off to participate in the ceremony. Upon hearing about his generous and unselfish gesture, NMU administrators decided to bring graduation to him at the store on Thursday. They surprised Donley by setting up an NMU backdrop, outfitting him in a cap and gown, conducting a master’s hooding ceremony and presenting him with a diploma.
Liberty Turner from Harrison Township has been selected as the student commencement speaker for the Dec. 15 graduation ceremony at Northern Michigan University. She will share her own story of transitioning through college and overcoming challenges to demonstrate how perseverance can lead to professional success.
“Due to my academic standing when I arrived at Northern, I really needed a school that wanted me to succeed just as must as I wanted to,” Turner said. “That’s why I went to Northern, but I fell in love with campus when I became engaged with the supportive community.”
While some college students seek the fastest track to graduation, Kerry Hytinen of Ishpeming opted for the slow, deliberate route. She earned a bachelor’s degree in writing from Northern 20 years ago and soon re-enrolled to begin work on a master’s. After detours and delays—some intentional and others not—Hytinen will receive her degree on Saturday. She said it was rewarding to complete her requirements the same semester that her daughter first enrolled at Northern, but this is not the end of Hytinen’s education.
Megan O’Connor of Midland will be the graduating senior commencement soloist at Northern Michigan University’s commencement on Saturday, Dec. 15. The communications major and music minor will lead the singing of the university’s alma mater, “Hail Northern,” and the national anthem. O’Connor played a major role in planning and executing the NMU Veterans Day choir concert, which raised $1,200 for the Jacobetti Home for Veterans. Those efforts recently earned her a "Director's Coin" for excellence from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
While college is designed to prepare students for their chosen career fields, there can be uncertainty about the job market that awaits them after graduation. But some Northern Michigan University seniors, like Savannah Wheeler from Midland, already have jobs lined up before they walk across the commencement stage.