Thousands of proud family members and friends streamed into the Convocation Center on the Athens Campus to watch more than 4,000 undergraduate students participate in Ohio University’s 2019 Spring Commencement ceremony on May 4.
This year’s Spring Commencement speaker was Alex Sheen, a 2007 OHIO graduate and the founder of “because I said I would,” an international social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept.
Clad in their caps, gowns and smiles, the graduates listened as Sheen spoke about the importance of keeping promises.
“One of the greatest qualities to carry into this world is to be a person of your word, keeping the promises that you made to others, and promises that you make to yourself,” Sheen said. “Even in this very moment right now, you said you were going to walk across this stage, and minutes from now, you will do just that.”
Loved ones in the Convocation Center traveled, in many cases, thousands of miles to witness that promise because they are so proud of their graduate and the promise they have honored, Sheen said.
“For those of you who may not have support today, I know I am just a stranger, but I am proud of you because I am tired of living in a world full of broken promises, and it inspires me to know that people who actually follow through, they still exist,” Sheen added.
Sheen said his father’s greatest attribute was keeping a promise, something he always admired. During his father’s funeral, Sheen passed out the first of what he called “promise cards.” A person is supposed to write their promise on a card, give it to the person they’re making a promise to and once they fulfill that promise, they earn the card back.
Sheen is hoping this year’s Spring Commencement graduates will do just that, providing 10 promise cards to each graduate.
“Let this moment be a notice to the world that a true Bobcat, a genuine Ohio University graduate, we honor our promises,” Sheen added. “A handshake — it means something to us because talk is cheap. We recognize that the world is in great need and our determination is needed.”
More than 4,000 students participated in two 2019 undergraduate commencement ceremonies.
Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis speaks at undergraduate commencement.
Amal Afyouni delivers the student address at undergraduate commencement.
Erick Felipe Meza participates in undergraduate commencement ceremonies.
Alumnus Alex Sheen delivers the keynote speech at undergraduate commencement.
Trent Comfort (Center) waves to supporters at the 2019 undergraduate commencement.
Zamam AL- Bulushi waves to supporters during the Saturday morning undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Abbey Phillips hugs her family and friends following the Saturday morning undergraduate commencement.
Dr. David Bayless, Loehr Professor of Mechanical Engineering, listens to the undergraduate commencement address.