By Starrla Cray
ST. CLOUD, MN St. Cloud State University’s Halenbeck Hall fell silent as Carol Meyerson of Delano began her speech.
More than 600 fellow graduates, along with their friends and family, listened intently Dec. 18 as Carol delivered an easy-to-relate-to commencement message.
“Her energetic speech was about transforming identities; how she was transformed from not knowing what to do, to discovering a sense of calling to be a teacher,” noted Carol’s father, Don.
Being chosen to speak at the commencement ceremony was an exceptional honor for Carol and her family.
“My wife, Sandy; our son, Kyle; and I were escorted by President Earl Potter’s personal assistant and requested to sit in the front row to watch the graduation ceremony,” Don said.
Carol was chosen through an interview process by the five deans representing the five colleges within St. Cloud State University (SCSU). They nominated students from the colleges of business, education, fine arts and humanities, science and engineering, and social sciences.
“Carol was selected to speak because she is very passionate about teaching,” Don said. “As a college student, she worked at Tiger Kids Club in Delano, Boys and Girls Program in St. Cloud, and coached youth sports.”
As an SCSU student, Carol studied abroad in Italy, Greece, and England, taking special courses for art, photography, and literature. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (kindergarten through fifth grade), as well as middle school English and science, achieving a 4.0 GPA in her major.
“Even though Carol’s mother, Sandy, has been a teacher in Delano Schools for 18 years, and had Carol as a student, we did not think Carol would choose teaching as a career,” Don said. “But looking back at everything now, it is not surprising. She has always possessed a commitment to excellence and a desire to lead and to help others.”
Carol, a 2006 Delano High School graduate, received numerous honors during high school. She was president of the National Honor Society, winner of the AAA award, in the top five of her class academically, and received a first place vocal music award. She was also captain of her volleyball, basketball, and softball teams.
“We were quite nervous and proud to see our daughter speak to this huge crowd,” Don said. “It brought back memories of her experiences as a kindergarten through 12th grade student in Delano School District, where she had many wonderful teachers and role models. The first kindergarten program where she had a little solo piece seems like it occurred just days ago.”
Music for the ceremony was provided by the St. Cloud State Orchestra, with associate professor of music Daniel O’Bryant conducting.
The processional was Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6,” also known as “The Pastoral.” The recessional was the ninth movement of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a selection commonly called “Baba-Yaga.”
Other remarks were given by SCSU President Earl Potter III, 1989 SCSU graduate Mayor Dave Kleis, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) trustee Phil Krinkie, professor of learning resources and technology services Tom Hergert, vice president for student life and development Wanda Overland, and alumni association president Paula Foley.