Congratulations SEMO graduates

Southeast Missouri State University will graduate 702 students in two commencement ceremonies to be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Show Me Center.

The graduates include 581 undergraduates along with 113 and eight master's and specialist degree candidates, respectively.

The first commencement speaker will be Shonta Smith, professor of elementary education at Southeast. The 2 p.m. ceremony will feature Southeast English professor and department chairwoman Susan Kendrick.

This is a special day for the graduates and their families, culminating years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. While some have followed a traditional path, others have paved a way less traveled, studying or going to class online or at night, working their way through school. Regardless, it's a day to celebrate achievement.

We wish all the graduates the best as they take the next step in their educational or professional journeys.

Remember this day, celebrate it, and forever seize opportunities to learn and grow, whether it be formally in a classroom or through life's many opportunities to learn. A degree is not the end. It's only the beginning. Now you have an opportunity to contribute to society in new ways. Use the opportunity for the betterment of yourself and others.

Congratulations. And make sure to thank those who helped make your education possible.