COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women is gearing up for its December graduation, as well as spring semester ceremonies, keeping students in mind, as well as their families and friends.
Approximately 190 participants are expected to walk in the university’s Friday, Dec. 13 commencement, which will include August graduates and December candidates. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in Rent Auditorium.
A traditional May commencement is scheduled for the 10th of that month, and, for the first time ever, the university will have an August commencement Aug. 2.
There are several reasons why a third commencement has been proposed, according to Dr. Dan Heimmermann, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“Given the space limitations in Rent Auditorium, graduates were given only five tickets for family and friends. We want our graduates (many of whom are first-generation college graduates) to be able to share their accomplishment with their families and friends,” he said.
Heimmermann added since many bachelor of science in nursing and master of science in nursing graduates do not complete their degree requirements until August it is appropriate to have an August commencement.
“It also is symbolic of the reality that today The W operates, educates and graduates students throughout the 12-month calendar and not only according to the traditional academic schedule which dates back to when we lived in an agrarian society,” he said.
The speaker for the December graduation ceremony is Ed Blakeslee, a member of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Blakeslee was appointed to the IHL Board by Gov. Haley Barbour in May of 2004. His term will expire in May 2015.
A longtime employee of the Mississippi Power Company, Blakeslee retired from the company as vice president. During that time, he was responsible for power delivery, marketing, customer and division operations and compliance. He also served as assistant engineer, manager of financial services, chief accounting officer and division director.
Before starting his career with Mississippi Power Company, Blakeslee served in the United States Army.
Blakeslee, who currently serves as chairman of the Wolf River Conservation Society, is active in his community. He is a member and served as past president of the Kiwanis Club of Gulfport. Blakeslee has served as a member of the adjunct accounting faculty at The University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Park Campus, past president of the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport, past president of Leadership Gulf Coast and past executive vice president of the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Blakeslee has served on the Southern Miss Business Advisory Board, the Mississippi State University Engineering Advisory Board and the Community Concert Board. He is currently serving as chairman of the Wolf River Conservation Society.
He is a registered professional engineer and a certified public accountant in the state.
Blakeslee received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and completed accounting courses from the University of Southern Mississippi.