Class of ‘24 Ready to Write Next Chapter of Their Life Stories

Saturday, May 25, 2024
News article image

The Institute’s Class of 2024 graduates – 454 members strong – celebrated a significant achievement in their lives and are now ready to use their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of STEM careers, graduate school, and military service.

Over the course of its proud 150-year history, each of Rose-Hulman’s 146 graduating classes has been filled with their own special stories. The Class of 2024 may have taken one of the most unique journeys in institute lore – starting amid a global health pandemic to have four years filled with perseverance, self-discovery, collaboration, expanded knowledge, new adventures, and exciting experiences.

And the group of 454 graduates are now ready to write the next chapters of the life stories after receiving their bachelor’s and master’s degrees May 25 from President Robert A. Coons

The Class of 2024 featured the following characteristics:

  • 113 women (25%)
  • 50 first-generation graduates (11%)
  • 147 graduates declared of diverse and ethnic populations (32%)
  • 34 states represented
  • Nine international countries represented, including China, South Korea, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam

A record 14 graduates were recognized with the Heminway Gold Medal for completing their academic careers with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages; a group brought distinction as members of the institute’s inaugural class of Noblitt Scholars; two graduates were Goldwater Scholars, one of the nation’s top honors for undergraduate students planning advanced studies in science, engineering, or mathematics; and several Army and Air Force ROTC cadets will begin serving the country as commissioned military officers. 

Also, the graduates’ future plans include working for such companies as Caterpillar, Eli Lilly and Company, Edgile, Texas Instruments, Marathon Petroleum, Procter & Gamble, Northrop Grumman, and Toyota. Graduate school plans include attending Princeton, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Cornell, Brown, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Rice, Case Western, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, University of Kansas, and University of Washington.

Two Class of 2024 members were publicly recognized: Hannah Snider, a chemical engineering and chemistry graduate from Plainfield, Indiana, as the John T. Royse Award for being considered the most outstanding graduate, and Nyomi Morris, a computer science graduate from Maple Heights, Ohio, with the Herman A. Moench Distinguished Senior Commendation. Both were distinguished students based upon academic achievement, student leadership, participation in co-curricular activities, and general campus citizenship. Snider is going onto a doctorate degree program at Princeton, while Morris will be in a PhD program at Colorado School of Mines. 

President Coons stated the Commencement “marks not only the end to one chapter of [the Class of 2024’s] story, but a new chapter filled with boundless opportunities. As you move forward navigating the complexities of the world, if you dare to dream big, take risks, and continue to challenge yourself, you will make a difference. I have no doubt that each of you will rise to the occasion and leave an enduring legacy.”

He also told Rose-Hulman’s newest alumni to “embark on this new chapter with confidence, courage, and conviction. Be bold, compassionate, and resilient …. Today, our stories continue into the future. The four years during which we have shared a chapter or two are wrapping up, but I am confident our storylines will cross paths again.” 

Coons completed his 35th year of service to Rose-Hulman during the 2023-24 school year. He has been the 16th president of the institute since 2018.

Former Student Government Association President Courtney Valmore, chemical engineering graduate from Indianapolis, stated that Commencement marked a triumph over adversity for her and the Class of 2024.

“The COVID-19 pandemic tested our strength and determination in ways we never imagined,” she said. “As we stand on the threshold of a new chapter, let us not dwell on what we may have missed, but rather embrace the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. Let us carry forward the lessons learned and the friendships built, knowing that we are equipped to overcome any challenge that comes our way.”

Other student speakers were Senior Class President Hannah Richardsen, a mechanical engineering and economics graduate from Fulshear, Texas, and 2023-24 National Society of Black Engineers Chapter President Sean Hyacinthe, a computer engineering graduate from Rockford, Illinois.

Alumni Advisory Board President Nellie Hohne, a 1999 mechanical engineering alumna, welcomed the Class of 2024 to the more than 18,000 Rose-Hulman alumni who are now impacting the world in their career fields.

“During your time at Rose-Hulman you learned more than just the math and science needed to sit in your seat today. You learned the values of hard work, determination, and most importantly the value of support,” she said. 

Offering words of advice and encouragement for the Class of 2024 as Commencement Speaker was Mae Jemison, M.D, the first African American woman to travel in space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. She worked as a general medical practitioner and participated in medical research before joining NASA, and has become an ardent advocate for science education through The Earth We Share international science camp and other initiatives.

Jemison joined 1981 chemical engineering alum John Swearingen in receiving honorary degrees in engineering.

Swearingen had a rewarding 39-year career with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, retiring in 2020 as executive vice president of logistics and storage. He and his wife, Anne, have been faithful financial supporters of Rose-Hulman, sponsoring student scholarships, an endowed faculty position and laboratory enhancements for the Department of Chemical Engineering, and a new speaker series to spur student leadership development.

Faculty and staff recognized during the ceremony were Associate Dean for Learning and Technology and Professor of Biology & Biomedical Engineering Kay C Dee, PhD, with the Dean’s Outstanding Teacher Award; Associate Professor of Computer Science & Software Engineering Nate Chenette, PhD, with the Board of Trustees’ Outstanding Scholar Award; and Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Laboratory Technician Gary Meyer, with the President’s Outstanding Service Award.