The Dec. 9 commencement ceremony at Black Hills State University in Spearfish will be one for the history books. Close to 200 candidates will be recognized during the 174th commencement ceremony, including the first ever graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art.

The fall commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center on the BHSU Campus. The public is welcome to attend and show their support for the students and celebrate their achievements.

An impressive 13 master degrees, 160 bachelor degrees and 24 associate degrees will be awarded. Student Senate President Justin Logue, from Volin, will lead the processional. Dr. Chris Crawford, provost and vice president for academic affairs at BHSU, and John Bastian, with the South Dakota Board of Regents, will offer greetings to the graduates. Students will be presented with their diplomas by BHSU President Dr. Tom Jackson Jr., with the assistance of April Meeker, registrar. Graduates will be welcomed into the Alumni Association by Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement.

Musical performances of the National Anthem and the “Hymn to BHSU” will be performed by Dr. Jonathan Nero, associate professor of music, Dr. Nancy Roberts, associate professor of music, Mr. Micah Pennel, music student from Hill City, and Ms. Katie Zerbst, music student from Sturgis. Zerbst will also be performing a musical selection, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Richard Rodgers. The processional music will be performed by Dr. Symeon Waseen, associate professor of music, and Dr. Christopher Hahn, assistant professor of music.

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Special candidate, Kelli Larson of Sioux Falls, will be the first graduate to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from BHSU.

The BFA program is unique in that it is a comprehensive studio art degree. According to J. Desy Schoenewies, assistant professor of art, the BFA program prepares students for careers in fine art, gallery management, museum positions, curatorial positions and commercial advertising jobs, among others. She believes students like Larson will have an advantage upon graduation by utilizing the diverse skills they have obtained in integrated multi-media.

A live broadcast of the fall 2017 commencement ceremony will be streamed at for those who are unable to attend.

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Managing editor

Chris Huber is the managing editor at the Rapid City Journal.