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Class of 2019 Advised to ‘Be Difference-Makers’

Saturday, May 25, 2019
A female Rose-Hulman student in commencement gear smiles as she prepares to receive her diploma.

The Class of 2019 started new clubs and organizations, initiating sustainability projects, completing service projects and learning experiences throughout the world, and, at 28 percent, has the highest percentage of female students of any graduating class in Rose-Hulman history.

After reaching out to adapt toys for special needs children, build homes for Habitat for Humanity, plant trees to beautify a community, and engage young children in fun chemistry projects — to cite just a few activities—members of Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2019 are ready to use their science, engineering and mathematics education to make a difference in a variety of career pathways.

That’s possible because of the graduating seniors’ ability to solve problems, learn and adapt to emerging technologies, and be resilient in order to meet personal and career goals, according to Eli Lilly and Company Senior Vice President W. Darin Moody and Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons.

Both addressed the 493 students earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees during the institute’s 141st Commencement on Saturday, May 25. Another 31 members of the Class of 2019 were recognized in anticipation of completing academic degree requirements following the summer or fall academic quarters.

To date, approximately 91 percent of Rose-Hulman’s new graduates are preparing to begin full-time employment, plan to attend graduate school, or have been recently commissioned military officers, according to the Office of Career Services. Several of this year’s graduates had jobs lined up before starting the 2018-19 school year; it was not unusual for a senior to have multiple job and graduate school offers to consider. The $73,084 average accepted starting salary offer for 2019 Rose-Hulman graduates is an all-time high for the institute, and nearly $5,000 more than last year’s previous record. Top hiring companies include Collins Aerospace, Eli Lilly and Company, Milwaukee Tool, Naval Support Activity-Crane, Epic, Honeywell, Edgile, Texas Instruments, Digital Management Inc. (DMI), Honda, Textron and Northrop Grumman.

Moody was once in the graduates’ shoes. He was the first member of his family from Jeffersonville, Indiana, to attend college, was unfamiliar with the college selection process and was unsure if he had the academic background to succeed at a private college. But Moody knew he wanted to become a chemical engineer and Rose-Hulman was the right place to do it.

With his 1987 Rose-Hulman chemical engineering degree and 32 years of extensive operational and engineering experience, especially globally, Moody now has oversight of Lilly’s internal manufacturing operations located in Indiana, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Spain, and Brazil. He also coordinates a global network of external manufacturing partners, is responsible for continuous improvement processes within Lilly’s global manufacturing plants, and supports a variety of technology innovations within several production areas.

In presenting the Commencement Address, Moody told Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2019 that they have to be ready to embrace and meet future opportunities and challenges.

“The world faces more huge, complex challenges than have existed in generations. At the same time, we have never had more tools, in terms of science and technology,” he said. “My advice to you is: Don’t shy away from the biggest challenges. You may be the difference-maker that tips the scales. Be confident, because Rose-Hulman graduates have shown time and again that they can be difference-makers. Now it’s your turn.”

Moody, a Rose-Hulman trustee since 2007, asked the graduates to follow what inspires them, gain perspective and assistance from people different from them, accept the toughest assignments and opportunities, and be unafraid of making mistakes along the way.

“In my experience, those who take on the most difficult challenges learn the most and grow the fastest. It sometimes takes courage to do this, but you are ready,” said Moody, who was awarded an honorary doctorate degree of engineering during the Commencement exercises.

Coons pointed out that Rose-Hulman’s Class of 2019 has left its mark by starting new clubs and organizations, initiating sustainability projects, completing service projects and learning experiences throughout the world, and contributing countless hours of community service to several organizations.

And, on the 20th anniversary of graduation for the first incoming class of female first-year students, Coons noted that, at 28 percent, the group has the highest percentage of female students of any graduating class in Rose-Hulman history – contributing to increasing diversity among the student body that’s an essential part of the institute’s strategic goals.

“Successful engineering and science projects begin with understanding the culture and environment in which you are working. That’s why we went co-ed 24 years ago and why we continue to strive for greater diversity and global engagement today,” the president told the graduates.

In addition to the awarding of diplomas, the ceremony recognized seven members of the Class of 2019 for academic, leadership, extracurricular activities, and helping make Rose-Hulman a better place.

Nine graduates received Heminway Medals for having the highest grade-point averages – perfect 4.0 – in the class. The group included Evan Bauer, from Celestine, Indiana, who majored in electrical engineering; Rohit Chandra, from Forsyth, Illinois, who majored in electrical engineering; Casey Garner, from Carlisle, Indiana, who majored in mathematics and computational science; Kayla Gerken, from Napoleon, Ohio, who is a biomedical engineering graduate; and Joshua Heidecker, from Newburgh, Indiana, who majored in computer engineering and computer science.

Other Heminway Medal recipients were Aaron Kulinowski, from Mechanicsville, Virginia, who majored in chemical engineering and mathematics; Alexander Lacrampe, from Mercer Island, Washington, who is a biology graduate; Benjamin Linxwiler, from Ballwin, Missouri, who majored in chemical engineering and mathematics; and Benjamin Strate, from Chesterfield, Missouri, who majored in mechanical engineering.

The Herman A. Moench Distinguished Senior Commendation was presented to Beata Barati, from Lexington, Ky., who earned degrees in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.

In addition to his Heminway Medal, Garner received the John T. Royse Award for all-around excellence in scholarship, extracurricular activities and caring for the campus community.

Commencement by The Numbers:
141 – Number of commencements in Rose-Hulman history
457 – Fall, winter, and spring bachelor’s of science degree graduates
31 – Bachelor’s of science candidates participating as potential summer or fall degree completions
36 – Graduate-level degree graduates (26 master’s of science degrees; 10 master’s degrees)
35 – States represented among graduates
Other Countries Represented (9): Brazil, China, Germany, India, Iran, Panama, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand
91% -- Placement rate at commencement
$73,084 – Average accepted starting salary
Top Employers (Hiring the Most Rose-Hulman graduates): Collins Aerospace, Eli Lilly and Company, Milwaukee Tool, Naval Support Activity-Crane, Epic, Honeywell, Edgile, Texas Instruments, Digital Management Inc. (DMI), Honda, Textron and Northrop Grumman