Commencement 2015 Boasts Many Firsts for the College of Engineering

May 18, 2015 | LSU Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

The College of Engineering’s class of 2015 was one to remember: it included the largest graduating minority class in college history, the youngest ever student to graduate from LSU, a father and son duo, and even Mike the Tiger.

Approximately 629 degrees were conferred for the Spring 2015 commencement. Of those degrees, 564 were Bachelor of Science, 33 were Master of Science and 19 were Ph.D. degrees. Ph.D. graduates were honored at the university’s general ceremony on Thursday, May 14, and the others were honored at the College’s diploma ceremony on Friday, May 15.

“This is the best day of my life, my fondest memory,” civil engineering major Shane Bickham said with a smile shortly before Friday’s diploma ceremony. “But going to football games and LSU football is what I loved most about LSU.”

Before the Friday ceremony, eager soon-to-be graduates, many clad in bejeweled caps and regalia, buzzed with excitement. This year’s graduating class included 18 Distinguished Communicators and 50 honor graduates.

Honor graduate and civil engineering major Alyse Aldridge will start her full time position at ExxonMobil this summer.

“One of my favorite memories about LSU, besides graduating today, is being a part of my sorority, Phi Mu,” Aldridge said.

Of the 50 honor graduates, four received University Medals. The University Medal for “Highest Academic Achievement” is awarded to the undergraduate student, or students, graduating with the highest GPA within their respective majors.

In the College of Engineering, those who achieve a perfect 4.00 GPA also receive the Edward McLaughlin Dean’s Medal of Excellence. This year’s recipients included: Brianna Bourgeois, biological engineering; Brandon Oubre, computer science; Victoria Reed, computer science; and Daniel Salom-Romero, mechanical engineering.

LSU System President and LSU Chancellor F. King Alexander expressed pride in the achievements of the College of Engineering graduates.

“Once you receive these degrees,” he said, “You are among the world’s elite.”

Alexander also addressed the increase in minority graduates within the College. This year, there were 137 minority graduates.

Civil engineering graduate Rebecca LaPorte, 2015 class representative, included in her speech to fellow graduates and the audience reasons why she chose the field, and her hopes for the future of each of her peers.

“I chose to enter engineering for reasons most people do,” LaPorte explained. “People noticed that I was good in math and science at an early age and suggested that I look into the field.”

“I was even known as the ‘Math Mama’ of my third grade class,” she added with a laugh.

LaPorte went on to share how her involvement at LSU not only allowed her to gain experience to grow as an engineer, but also as a person. She charged her peers to remember and adopt the idea of “paying it forward” to future students and engineers.

“We are the future,” LaPorte said to fellow graduates. “And we will leave our mark as we go forward.”

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For more information, contact M.B. Humphrey at 225-578-5660, or at marissah@lsu.edu.