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More than 1,000 graduates celebrated as Bemidji State, NTC's class of 2022

More than 1,000 graduates from Bemidji State University walked across the Sanford Center stage on Friday as part of the graduating class of 2022.

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Graduates clap after Bemidji State President Faith Hensrud's speech during BSU’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — More than 1,000 graduates from Bemidji State University walked across the Sanford Center stage on Friday as part of the graduating class of 2022.

As BSU’s 103rd graduating class, the College of Arts, Education and Humanities recognized 226 graduates. There were 410 graduates representing the College of Business, Mathematics and Science while the College of Individual and Community Health recognized 411 graduates.

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Vocal music performance graduate Emily Bergeron sings the national anthem during Bemidji State’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

In similar fashion to 2021's commencement, three BSU ceremonies representing each of the university’s colleges took place throughout the day with NTC’s closing out Friday evening.

Unlike last year, graduates were about six feet closer together without masks covering their excited smiles.

“Today, we celebrate a truly momentous achievement,” BSU and NTC President Faith Hensrud said during an opening speech. “You’ll join one of approximately 30,000 students who have come before you at Bemidji State University as alumni and you will take your place among the 35% of the American population that has earned at least a bachelor’s degree.”

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President Faith Hensrud speaks during Bemidji State’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Friday’s events were considered BSU’s 102nd commencement after commencement exercises were canceled in 2020 due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, after which a virtual recognition was held for the class of 2020.

Music education graduate Tristen Heller provided the student address for the College of Arts, Education and Humanities and referenced the challenges of being a student the past two years of the pandemic.

“I commend our class’ tenaciousness and overcoming the struggles we have endured,” Heller said. “We were struck by the COVID-19 pandemic in the last portion of our sophomore year and have had to be resilient and adaptable. But through all the troubles we’ve faced, we have succeeded and achieved greatness.”

In closing, Heller shared a popular quote, “‘Do or do not. There is no try.’ Class of 2022, I can surely say that we have not tried, but we have done.”

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Graduates listen to a speaker during Bemidji State’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Science education graduate Dana Sabers addressed the College of Business, Mathematics and Science while sociology graduate Deshawn Crawford spoke on behalf of the College of Individual and Community Health.

This year's Distinguished Minnesotan Arne Vainio, a family practice physician with the Fond du Lac Nation, delivered a virtual commencement address for the BSU ceremonies.

“You now sit in attendance with some of the smartest and most dedicated people you will ever know,” Vainio said in his virtual address to the graduates. “You are one of them.”

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President Faith Hensrud presents a diploma to Bemidji State graduate Kayla Tyra during BSU’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Roger Moe, a member of the Minnesota State Board of Trustees, also provided remarks.

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“Please know that even though you’re graduating and moving on, you will never lose the connection to Bemidji State University,” Moe mentioned. “You will carry the Bemidji State mission with you no matter where you go whether it’s down the street, to another state or across an ocean.”

Kelly Hagen, vice president of nursing and clinical services at Sanford Health, will speak at NTC's commencement, which takes place Friday evening at 7 p.m. A total of 185 graduates will be recognized and electrical construction and maintenance graduate Andrew Tarnowski will be NTC’s student speaker.

All ceremony recordings can be viewed on BSU and NTC’s YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook pages.

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Allen Bedford, Bemidji State's provost and vice president of academic affairs, speaks during BSU’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Graduates make their way down the aisle during the processional at Bemidji State’s 2022 College of Arts, Education and Humanities commencement ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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