CSU commencement honors perseverance

WILBERFORCE — Central State University will host a virtual commencement ceremony to honor its graduating class of 2021.

The ceremony will take place Saturday. It will begin at 10 a.m.

More than 250 Central State University students will graduate during the virtual ceremony, which takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15. The university will showcase several members of the 2021 graduating class through featured stories and photographs.

Dr. Jack Thomas, the ninth president of Central State University, will serve as this year’s commencement speaker.

“CSU students have persevered and prevailed through the challenges of the past 18 months. Our students have answered every challenge and have been resilient in their pursuit of gaining their degrees,” Thomas said. “As president, I take great pride in seeing our students along with our faculty and staff come together to overcome challenges and succeed despite the many obstacles this pandemic has created. Saturday is a day to honor what our students have achieved and celebrate them as they embark into a bright future as graduates of our great university.”

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, CSU’s commencement was held at the Dayton Convention Center which draws an audience of more than 5,000 family and friends.

“Commencement at Central State University is one of our most cherished traditions. While we will not be able to conduct a traditional in-person commencement, this virtual format provides a forum to ensure that all who wish to participate in the ceremony will be able to do so in a safe and healthy manner,” CSU Provost Dr. F. Erik Brooks said. “While this year will be a virtual celebration of our graduating class, I wish to emphasize how proud we are in each of our graduating seniors as they move forward into the next phase of their lives.”

Graduating senior Djimon Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in music education with a grade-point average of 3.7. Smith, who serves the university as a student trustee, managed to successfully complete his degree program while working multiple jobs and perfecting his musical talents. With future goals of working in education as a superintendent, Smith talked about his journey and experience as a CSU student.

“Coming in as a freshman, I did not foresee how much my life would change during my time as a student here at Central State. I had an advisor who I met during my freshman year who had the vision and foresight to see my potential,” Smith said. “At the time, I knew I wanted to be successful but did not fully realize what I could achieve. As I began to formulate my path and define who I wanted to become, my potential and future is what has served as motivation through my moments of comfort and convenience as well as times of challenges. As I prepare for commencement, my success and experiences are attributed to my drive and determination as well as the advisors, faculty and staff who have guided me along the way.”

Smith, who will serve as a speaker during this Saturday’s commencement, is one of many CSU students who has enrolled into a graduate program. Smith will pursue his graduate studies at Ball State University while serving as a music instructor at an elementary school in his hometown of Chicago.

The 2021 commencement ceremony can be seen live at facebook.com/CentralState87 and youtube.com/CentralState87.