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318 Degrees Awarded at December Commencement Ceremony

Dec 14, 2011

Maker's Mark Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels Addresses Graduates


Commencement Address: Bill Samuels

Video of Graduates Accepting Degrees:
» Doctor of Physical Therapy
» MA in Spirituality, Master of Business Administration
» MA in Applied Information Technology, MA in Communication, and undergraduates from Bellarmine College
» BA in Communication, Education & Nursing, BA/BS in Nursing, Bachelor of Health Science, BA with accounting certificate

Videos About our Graduates:
» Shevez Freeman (bachelor of arts, communication)
» Simone Potts (doctor of physical therapy)
» Jody Swimmer (doctor of physical therapy)

Bellarmine University's Alumni Association gained 318 new members on December 14, at the university's annual December commencement ceremony.

The graduating class included 101 undergraduate students, 170 earning master's degrees, and 47 earning doctoral degrees.

Graduates and their families heard an entertaining commencement address by Bill Samuels Jr., a Bellarmine trustee who is the chairman emeritus of Maker's Mark and chair of Bellarmine's capital campaign. Bellarmine presented an honorary Doctor of Law degree to Samuels.

Samuels encouraged the graduates to be entrepreneurial. He said the loss of a job in the aerospace industry at a young age brought him back to Kentucky, where he enjoyed a long, successful career in the family's bourbon business.

Samuels said he was fired from the aerospace job after his role in a spectacularly unsuccessful rocket launch. "One of my jobs was to ensure that the motor and the nozzle were tightly fixed to the test pad," he said. "The rocket was ignited and all seemed well, when suddenly the motor began vibrating out of control.

"Somebody forgot to tighten the bolts, eventually causing this rocket to break loose from the test bay and soar high into the atmosphere, until finally it began to drop. And drop it did. All 3,000 pounds, right through the roof of [the company's] executive offices. The next morning, bright and early, my aerospace career came to an abrupt end."

MORE: Read commencement remarks by Bellarmine's president, Dr. Joseph J. McGowan.