Eric Bernardo of Springfield, Ohio, celebrates graduation during commencement ceremonies at the BGSU Stroh Center Saturday.
BOWLING GREEN — Emotions ranged from happiness to sadness at a commencement ceremony Saturday at Bowling Green State University.
Filled to near capacity, Stroh Center on BGSU’s main campus boomed with cheers and applause as 475 graduates moved the tassels on their mortarboards from the right to the left as a symbol of graduation.
Logan Wolph, 17, of Fostoria beamed as he walked out of Stroh Center with the rest of the black-clad graduates once the two-hour ceremony ended.
“It feels good,” said the teen as he clutched his diploma. He received a bachelor of science degree in biology. “I am glad to have a head start in working toward my career.”
Mr. Wolph, who received his degree cum laude, said he plans to go to a dental school, “hopefully at Ohio State [University].” He was 15 when he graduated from Hopewell-Loudon High School in Bascom, Ohio two years ago.
PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU Commencement
Also leaving the ceremony and holding a diploma was Debbie Borsz of Columbia Station, Ohio.
That’s because the bachelor’s of fine arts diploma that she was holding was not for herself but for her late son, Mark Borsz.
Her son was 22 when he collapsed on a sidewalk near Summit Street and Carr Avenue in Bowling Green on Feb. 24 after going out for a run. He was pronounced dead later that day at Wood County Hospital.
Debbie and Tom Borsz accept their son Mark's diploma during graduation at the BGSU Stroh Center. Mark died in February after collapsing.
“Hopefully it’ll motivate the children to finish their [college] degrees, because he is the first to graduate from college. ... He loved the art department here at BGSU, thought it was awesome,” Mrs. Borsz said.
She and her husband, Tom, have three other children: Matthew, 23, who studies at Lorain Community College in Elyria, Ohio to become an art educator; Taylor, 20, who also goes to Lorain Community College and majors in animal management to be a farmer, and Dana, 18, a North Olmsted High School senior who plans to go to college and major in sculpture, Mrs. Borsz said.
Becoming emotional, Mrs. Borsz said she felt “proud [and] just very sad he [Mark] is not here.”
Her daughters and her husband were by her side as she spoke.
Of the 628 students who were graduating Saturday from BGSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and BGSU Firelands College in Huron, Ohio, 153 did not attend the ceremony, said Bridget Tharp, a BGSU spokesman.
Ms. Tharp said a total of 2,075 students graduated from BGSU this weekend during its commencements.
Highlights of the Saturday ceremony included a commencement speech by Ret. Air Force Maj. Gen. Anita Gallentine, a 1977 BGSU graduate.
She called on the graduates to take risks as they pursue their dreams, not to be afraid to fail, to be passionate about what they do, and to give back to the community.