2024 Commencement

Oakland City University proudly celebrated the graduation of 201 exceptional students on Saturday, May 4, 2024, on the Oakland City, Indiana campus. These graduates, with their hard work and dedication, have set a high standard for academic excellence and community involvement. 

Chartered by the State of Indiana in 1885, OCU has been a beacon of education, shaping the future of its students. OCU's commitment to providing opportunities for cultural enrichment, intellectual growth, and quality education, leading to responsible societal involvement, has been instrumental in the success of its graduates. 

Under the leadership of OCU President Dr. Ron Dempsey, the 129th commencement was a momentous occasion. The ceremony, attended by a full house of family members, guests, and Board of Trustees, was a testament to the hard work and dedication of the graduates.  Dr. Dempsey, in his address, extended his heartfelt congratulations to the graduates.    

Six outstanding students were honored with the prestigious President’s Award.  The awards recognize not only the highest academic accomplishment in each school but also the significant contributions the students have made to campus life, reflecting the university's commitment to holistic development. 

  1. Aron Busick – Paoli, Indiana – Major in Business Administration and Management – PERFECT 4.0 G.P.A. 
  2. Kataryna Kulynych – Kharkiv, Ukraine –Bachelor of Science Major in Human Biology - Associates in Business Administration with a Minor in Chemistry – 3.98 G.P.A.   
  3. Blake Pruitt – Fairfield, Illinois – Major in Business Administration in Sports Administration – 3.95 G.P.A. 
  4. Kenzie Black – Oblong, Illinois – Major in Early Childhood Education – 3.99 G.P.A. 
  5. Moniek Meeringa – Elst, The Netherlands – Psychology – 3.96 G.P.A. 
  6. Mariana Anastasiadi – Nikaia, Greece – Major in Criminal Justice-Investigative Forensics – 3.96 G.P.A.  

Dr. Andrea Boyle from the School of Education and Dr. James Sigler from the School of Business were voted by the student body as "Co-Professors of the Year." 

Evansville, Indiana native, three-term Mayor, and current chief executive officer of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (EREP), Mr. Lloyd Winnecke, gave the commencement address.  Mr. Winnecke informed the students that many opportunities would knock on their doors throughout their careers. The new graduates should be open-minded, evaluate the risks, weigh the benefits, and when the benefits outweigh the risks, he encouraged them to take the opportunity.  The former Mayor of the third largest city in Indiana opined that taking those risks may push one beyond their comfort zone, but he asked the graduates to embrace living outside their personal comfort zones.  Mr. Winnecke advised the graduates to have grace in all they do, show mercy and kindness, and set a goal to do something nice for someone every day.  The former Mayor emphasized that “Nice matters!” 

OCU Provost Dr. Cathy Robb presented the students for graduation after certifying that each had met their academic degree requirements.  Then OCU President Dr. Ron Dempsey conferred upon the students the degree by which they completed all the work, with all rights and privileges, making it official as he invited the graduates to move the tassel from the right side of their caps to the left, signifying their degree. 

The students were then presented by their Dean:  

Dr. Ron Mercer, Dean of the School of Religious Studies, and Chapman Seminary, presided over the conferral of degrees and certificates to seven students from the school, which was founded in 1885. 

Dr. Justin Murphy, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, presided over the conferral of degrees and certificates to twenty-seven students from the school, which was also founded in 1885. 

Dr. Kevin Smith, Dean of the School of Education, presided over the conferral of degrees and certificates to fifty-two students from the school, which was also founded in 1907. 

Dr. Jervaise McDaniel, Dean of the School of Business, presided over the conferral of degrees and certificates to seventy-four students from the school, which was also founded in 1918. 

OCU’s Community Outreach Correspondence Program graduated eighteen students.  

Mr. Jed Jerrels, Principal of North Daviess High School, presided over the conferral of degrees and certificates to twenty-three current North Daviess students.  These students graduated from OCU with their Associate of Arts degrees in University Studies before their upcoming high school graduation ceremony. 

*Updated June 4, 2024