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As Eastern Kentucky University graduate Sidney Bumgardner recalled her time on campus, late nights studying, racing to class in the rain and connecting with fellow classmates over difficult assignments all came to mind.


While these specific instances are now mere memories, Bumgardner reminded her fellow graduates that new beginnings do not mean the end of the connections made at EKU. 


Bumgardner shared her inspiring words with graduates attending the 2021 Fall Commencement Ceremonies for the colleges of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics on December 4. Bumgardner graduated with degrees in biomedical science and psychology with plans to continue her studies in medical school. 


“I hope we all remember that we will always be a part of something bigger than ourselves, as we created our own community here, our own legacy,” she said.


It is important to make connections with others, she said. She encouraged graduates to take the tools learned at EKU on how to build community to their workplaces, graduate schools and communities.


But, remembering where you came from is also important. 


“I hope we never forget that Richmond is our city and EKU is our place of belonging,” she said. “I hope we use our connection to this university to enrich our successes and always give credit to where we came from.”


Growth will continue to happen, she reminded graduates. Being willing to embrace the transitions of life will help build an amazing life. 


“Do not stand in your own way. You have feet that tell you where to stand and when to run. You have hands that know when to give and when to let go. You have everything you need within yourself, no matter if society says you don’t.” 


EKU recognized 1,341 degree candidates from its six colleges during its fall commencement ceremonies held December 3-4.