#BevStrong, #13YearSenior, #GoldenFlashes highlight Kent State’s One University Commencement ceremony


Julian Edelman, wide receiver for the New England Patriots, poses with President Beverly Warren after accepting his degree in integrative studies on May 11, 2019.

Rachel Karas

Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman skipped down the center aisle and high fived his fellow Kent State graduates after being the first to walk at Saturday’s One University Commencement ceremony.

Edelman was one of 5,307 students to receive degrees from Kent State, in his case at a packed outdoor ceremony in Kent State’s Dix Stadium. Warren presided over her last commencement as university president, since she will retire June 30.

Edelman, who plays football for the New England Patriots, announced Thursday on Twitter he would be “completing what I started back in 06. I want to set a great example for my daughter, and complete a promise I made to my parents over 10 years ago.” He received an integrative sciences degree.

After receiving his degree, Edelman tweeted the following: “Kent State class of 2019… we did it! #13YearSenior.”

Warren, who also gave the keynote speech, recognized the graduating students for their hard work and the effect they had on her during her time as president.

“Family is where you find it, family is where you create it. … I never saw this more clearly than when news spread of my cancer diagnosis,” Warren said. “ … I worried about keeping my energy, about keeping my schedule and then you painted the rock with the #BevStrong. That was when I knew I was home.”   

During her speech, Warren spoke of the passion and dedication of Kent State’s students, including graduating senior Jennifer Luck, who persevered and played her piccolo in the marching band through all kinds of icy and inclement weather. Luck received a bachelor of science degree.   

“It meant so much to me because as a senior I always want to leave a mark on the university and I never felt like I really did. But the fact that she mentioned me in her speech definitely solidified that I have made an impact on the university,” Luck said.  

After walking, students gathered at the back of the stadium and met with family members, friends and loved ones. Many spoke of future plans and what their next steps were following graduation.

“I plan on getting my certifications for my strength and conditioning specialist and then hopefully working with some type of sports team in the future,” said Matthew Smith, who received a degree in exercise science.

An Advanced Degree Commencement Ceremony was held Friday in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center to honor graduates who received their master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees.

Provost Todd Diacon, who will take over as Kent State’s president on July 1, spoke of what Warren will leave behind after the ceremony.  

“I think this is really one of the great legacies of President Warren is that we are having this outdoor commencement with this many people and pomp and circumstance, the pageantry,” said Provost Todd Diacon, who will follow Warren as president. “You know, it just couldn’t be better, we’re really happy.”


Rachel Karas is the editor-in-chief of the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]