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College of Media celebrates graduates; top students honored

Loughery speaks at commencement
Rick Loughery (BSJ, 1994), vice president of global marketing and communications for GoPro Incorporated, gives the commencement address. Credit: WVU Photo

WVU Reed College of Media graduates were celebrated alongside graduates of the College of Creative Arts during the joint commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at the WVU Coliseum.

More than 180 College of Media graduates attended the ceremony, earning bachelor’s degrees in Advertising and Public Relations, Game Design and Interactive Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Journalism, Multidisciplinary Media Studies, and Sports and Adventure Media, and master’s degrees in Data Marketing Communications, Digital Marketing Communications, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Journalism.

Rick Loughery (BSJ, 1994), vice president of global marketing and communications for GoPro Incorporated, gave the commencement address. Loughery joined GoPro, which develops and manufactures wearable and mountable cameras and accessories for use in action sports, professional videography and more, as the company’s 13th full-time employee in 2010. His remarks, which included moments of humor, encouraged graduates to follow a map – whether to a location or a career goal – to take calculated risks, speak in plurals (“we” and “us”), take responsibility, embrace failure and find common ground with others.

“Friendships, family ties, partnerships – they are probably the hardest things to manage over the years, but they are the most important things,” Loughery said at the finale of his speech. “Because when you have the failures, they will lift you up. And when you have successes, they will be there to celebrate.”

Following Loughery’s address, students crossed the stage as their names were read and were congratulated by their program chair and by either Provost Maryanne Reed or President E. Gordon Gee before receiving a WVU diploma cover from College of Media Dean Diana Martinelli. Those earning a master’s degree were hooded by Assistant Dean of Online Programs Chad Mezera or Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Steve Urbanski.

The ceremony concluded with a message from Gee, the conferral of degrees and the singing of “Country Roads.”

Two weeks prior to commencement, on April 26, the College of Media recognized top undergraduate students at its annual Spring Honors Ceremony. Courtney Bearer, Mikaela Eackles, Lydia Kellas, Shannon Law, Emalee Liptrap, Jules Ogden, Jhanvee Patel, Dayna Pratt, Tobias Sherman and Madison Smith were the top overall scholars, earning the highest grade point average (4.0) of the May 2024 undergraduate class.

Top Scholars

Each year, faculty also select outstanding seniors from each major, based on student applications. This year’s outstanding seniors included Advertising and Public Relations majors Mikaela Eackles, Dayna Pratt and Alyssa Reeves; Game Design and Interactive Media major Madison Smith; Journalism majors Jules Ogden, Jhanvee Patel and Kaeli Ricottilli; Multidisciplinary Media Studies major Emalee Liptrap; and Sports and Adventure Media major Elizabeth Carey.

In addition, 84 bachelor’s degree candidates were recognized for their academic achievement by being awarded Latin honors, which include cum laude (GPA between 3.4 and 3.59), magna cum laude (GPA between 3.6 and 3.79) and summa cum laude (GPA of at least 3.8).