WKU in Glasgow hosted the Fall Graduand ceremony on Thursday, December 13 to honor students from the region who will graduate from WKU this month. Twelve students participated in the ceremony, including student speaker Thomas Bratcher, a biology major from Edmonson County who has been accepted to medical school and law school in California.
After being laid off from his long-time job in medical equipment sales, Bratcher says he felt like he had lost his identity. During the summer of 2015, he decided to go back to school with the goal of becoming a physician. He enrolled in courses at WKU in Glasgow after meeting with Dick Fitzpatrick, his academic advisor. Bratcher said that he chose to take classes in Glasgow because it had been years since he was in college, and he felt that would help provide a smooth transition back into school.
Bratcher said there were times he wanted to quit – and was intimidated by sitting in class with students who had just graduated from high school. But he had a goal in mind and wanted to set an example for his son, Max.
“I wanted to show him the value of education and finishing what you start,” Bratcher stated.
He decided to earn his degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, taking courses in Glasgow, in Bowling Green and also online. His determination has paid off. He will graduate next week and then move to the West Coast in January to begin law school at Chapman University.
“If you’re a non-traditional student with a family, a job and a life, it can be hard. But if you persevere, you’ll thrive. If you have dreams, you can make it happen,” he said.
He added that he couldn’t have achieved his goals without the help of the faculty and staff at WKU, especially Mr. Fitzpatrick and Melanie Asriel, a psychological sciences professor, who consistently provided encouragement and support.
Asriel also spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the faculty and staff.
“Our students work so hard to accomplish their goals,” she said. “Sometimes I am truly overwhelmed by the academic devotion of our students.”
During the ceremony, Biology professor Mark Biggers was also recognized for 25 years of outstanding teaching at WKU – a second career he began in addition to teaching science at Glasgow Middle School, following an impressive Army career which included serving as a U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officer for over 15 years and medical school and nursing instructor at schools in Bethesda, MD, San Antonio, TX and Louisville.
Students graduating from WKU this semester will also be recognized by their individual academic colleges during special regognition ceremonies at Diddle Arena on Saturday, December 15 on the Bowling Green campus.
For more information about WKU in Glasgow, visit wku.edu/Glasgow.