MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University held its 2022 commencement on Friday, May 13.

Friends and families gathered to watch as the students from the Reed College of Media became graduates in many different fields of study. This commencement started at 9 a.m. and was the first of 16 that will be held this weekend.

The ceremony started with a student who sang The Star Spangled Banner, as well as WVU’s Alma Mater.

Special guest speaker, Ron Nixon, was then introduced for his speech. Nixon is a Global Investigations Editor at The Associated Press, worked for New York Times for nearly fourteen years, and is the author of “Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda War.” In his speech, he talked about the importance of always seeking the truth in journalism, and why it matters. He then referenced a couple of stories.

Nixon told graduates about a time when 16-year-old, Myon Burrell, was imprisoned due to police officers not looking for the truth, but only suspicions. After eleven months of investigation from Nixon’s colleagues, Burrell was set free. Another story referred to when Ron Nixon was working on his book in South Africa. He met a lady who helped him with questions he had and documents he did not know about. When he asked why she was helping him, she told him that she was not going to pretend that some things did not happen, because they did. Nixon said, “The truth isn’t sides, it isn’t political. The truth is the truth no matter where it comes from.”

When speaking with Maryanne Reed, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, about having the commencement for the first time since the pandemic, she made a comment, “This year, commencement is a celebration beyond celebrations. Because not only are we recognizing our outstanding graduates, but we are able to, to do this in person, and it has been three years, and, um, I think people are just so grateful to have this experience in person. It, it just means more.”

The students then received their Master’s hoods, diplomas, and pictures before returning to their seats. Following the turning of tassels, graduates stood, wrapped their arms around one another and swayed to the tune of Country Roads.

With 4,500 graduates walking at the end of this semester, there will be three days of commencement ceremonies. Anyone interested in attending these ceremonies can find them here.

12 News sends special congratulations to our very own Daniel Woods and Alexandra Bunn who are joining us at our station in Clarksburg after graduation. Congratulations!