Webster University 2013 Commencement Ceremonies: Worldwide Celebration

| May 13, 2013

The Class of 2013 numbers more than 7,200, with graduates from 106 countries and 49 U.S. states.

Graduates thank those who supported them along the way.

As Webster University’s 2012-13 academic year comes to a close, that can only mean one thing: Commencement season is in high gear.

This is the “high season” for commencement ceremonies at Webster University campus locations around the world, as the Webster community celebrates the hard work and achievements of students who are joining the 155,000-strong global network of living Webster alumni.

The 94th annual commencement ceremony in St. Louis was held on a beautiful day at The Muny Saturday, May 11.

While the extended network of campus locations celebrates graduates year-round — you’ll see snapshots of these ceremonies throughout the summer — the annual St. Louis commencement in May is the largest of these celebrations, and welcomes graduates not only from the St. Louis campuses, but from every Webster campus.

Peter Sargent, dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts

Each dean addresses his or her college or school graduates, but Peter Sargent has an extra job on Commencement Day: Leading the John Ford Highland Band procession as they perform traditional bagpipe selections.

Of the 7,210 graduating worldwide this year, 1,054 participated in the ceremony in St. Louis. Among those, 174 attended from extended campuses, and approximately 140 of those who “walked” on Saturday took most or all of their classes online.

Worldwide, the Class of 2013 is diverse in background, in demographics, and in interest.

They hail from 106 countries and 49 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Sixty-four are active military stationed overseas.

They earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from across Webster’s College of Arts & Sciences, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, the School of Communications and the School of Education.

The youngest graduate is 19 years old, graduating from the campus in Vienna, Austria. The oldest is 75, earning a graduate degree from Webster’s Fayetteville, Ark., campus location.

The view from the platform: Webster University commencement speaker Norbert Leo Butz (’90) addresses graduates and their families at The Muny.

In St. Louis, Webster alumnus and Tony Award-winning Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz gave a moving commencement address befitting a Gorlok who blends an engaging stage presence with a touching depth of sincere humanity.

President Stroble and Provost Schuster each spoke on the theme of resilience.

He followed addresses by Webster University President Beth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster, while Elizabeth Robb (’65) opened the event with words of inspiration.

Outside of the main ceremony for all graduates, the five Schools and Colleges held individual ceremonies where the students walked across the stage after being addressed by their respective deans and outstanding graduates and alumni.

More Photos and Interactions in Social Media

Visit Webster University’s Flickr page to view the event gallery, where photos are still being added. Additional photos are available at the Webster University Facebook page.

You can also see how many shared on Twitter through the hashtag #webstergrad on Twitter, or check out this Storify page that provides a sampling of social media expressions throughout the event.

Video of the full main ceremony will also be posted after it is prepared for the web.

A familiar sight on Saturday: Proud family members celebrate with their Webster University graduate.

The St. Louis ceremony was not the only one of the weekend. Webster University Thailand’s commencement ceremony was held May 12. View more photos of that event on the Webster University Thailand Facebook page.

And look for more from these and other ceremonies throughout the summer.

Webster University is a worldwide institution that ensures high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

These commencement ceremonies commemorate all of the hard work by students and their faculty, staff and leaders to make this transformation a reality.

Graduates in the School of Communications showed their creativity during the ceremony.

Graduates line up at Webster University Thailand.


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Category: Advancement, Alumni, Featured, Student Affairs and News, Webster News

Comments (4)

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  1. Pat Froeckmann, Assistant Director/Advisor at Westport Campus says:

    It was a great day. Congratulations to all graduates.

  2. Dwayne Mullins says:

    I am proud of my MBA from Webster, which I was awarded this past Saturday morning. The school is outstanding, but I will say this, the topic of Mr. Leo Butz’ speech was not appropriate for families and small children that were there to celebrate the hard work of the graduates. I found it difficult afterwards to explain what happened to his sister to my 7 year old daughter. The graphic detail of a naked sister dying on the front lawn … was tough for adults, but borderline abuse for small children in attendance to have to listen to. Mr. Butz should have thought twice about the audience. He is not an island, and is not entitled to be disrespectful to the children who all too soon will have their innocence taken away by society.

    The story of his sister is horrific, and I would not wish it on anyone, certainly. BUT … I was not aware the guest speaker needed to be rated as R or NC-17. This was MY graduation, not a platform for a cause. Sometimes, in a setting like this … less is more, and I know I am not the only one that feels this way. I think also, our President shares some responsibility for allowing such a “family unfriendly” speech to be delivered.

    Please, think next time about the content, and about the audience. If however, there will be no review of the speeches, then advise families NOT to bring their children. Respect is earned, and what I had for Mr. Butz, has taken a blow.

    Dwayne Mullins, MBA
    Class of 2013

    • Dominik Jansky says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Mr. Mullins. We always appreciate thoughts on Webster’s speakers and topics, and yours will certainly be taken into consideration for future events. We wish you the best in your future endeavors and congratulations on your MBA!

      Dominik Jansky
      Communications Director, Webster Today editor