Bellarmine awards 618 degrees at 65th annual commencement

May 12, 2018

Bellarmine celebrated its Class of 2018 on Saturday morning, conferring 618 undergraduate and graduate degrees during a commencement ceremony on Owsley Brown Frazier Stadium's Joseph P. and Janet A. Clayton Field.

Commencement speaker Susan M. Cameron, a 1987 Bellarmine MBA graduate who received an honorary doctoral degree during the ceremony, told graduates the seven secrets of success she learned during her years serving as the CEO of major corporations. [Learn more about Cameron]

Cameron's secrets included knowing when to be scared. "Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown," she said. "Only when you try something you believe you can’t do will you discover if you’re right. And you’ll be surprised at what you can do if you try."

She also reminded graduates to keep their priorities straight in life. "Do not spend 90 percent of your time or energy on people who’d replace you tomorrow morning if you left," she said. "Save a good portion of your time and energy for those to whom you’ll always be irreplaceable -- your good friends, your trusted colleagues and your family."

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Dr. Susan M. Donovan, Bellarmine's president, offered remarks to conclude the ceremony, reminding graduates that Bellarmine’s mission calls upon them to use their talents to improve the human condition. "The world will be a better place because of you," she said.

“The greatest joy as an educator is watching students develop over the course of their degree programs." she said. "It is a sort of magic when higher education opens up doors to the world within a student’s mind, dreams and expectations. It is a privilege to watch this experience as you realize your own potential to impact your profession, the community and the world.”

During Saturday's ceremony, the university awarded 474 undergraduate and 144 graduate degrees. Including graduates from last August and December, the university awarded 878 total degrees during the 2017-18 academic year.

Doctoral candidate ceremony
On Friday evening, the university started a new tradition: a hooding ceremony in Knights Hall for doctoral candidates from the schools of education, nursing and clinical sciences, and movement and rehabilitation sciences.

During that ceremony, Dr. Fred Rhodes -- a professor emeritus, former Bellarmine vice president and former chair of the Ph.D. in leadership in higher education program -- shared insights from his 42 years of experience as an educator and college administrator.

"With your new Bellarmine degree I am confident that you will be successful," said Rhodes. "Just look around you -- Bellarmine Knights are already leading and making a difference around the globe. I look forward to hearing your successful stories of how you are healing the sick, leading change, fighting for social justice, teaching and changing opportunities for others, and finding your sacred place and purpose in your new life."

Donovan told doctoral candidates that her mentor in graduate school spoke often of a "life net" of colleagues that would support her throughout her career. "I hope you know that the Bellarmine 'life net' of alumni, faculty, staff and friends will always be here for you," said Donovan. "I congratulate you on your remarkable achievement, and I welcome you as colleagues."

See more coverage of commencement festivities, including Friday's baccalaureate Mass, at

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