Missouri S&T Commencement speakers to celebrate sesquicentennial class

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On December 9, 2021

In recognition of Missouri University of Science and Technology’s 150th anniversary, two individuals with strong connections with Missouri S&T and its history will deliver commencement addresses at Missouri S&T’s graduation ceremonies Friday, Dec. 17, and Saturday, Dec. 18.

Dr. Keith Wedge, a retired brigadier general and three-time graduate of Missouri S&T, will speak at the Dec. 17 ceremony. Dr. Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science at Missouri S&T and author of the history book Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years, will speak at the Dec. 18 ceremonies.

Commencement ceremonies will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, for Missouri S&T’s 33 Ph.D. graduates, and at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, for over 700 S&T bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates. All three ceremonies will be held in Gibson Arena of the Gale Bullman Building, located at 10th Street and Bishop Avenue in Rolla. The ceremonies will also be livestreamed on Missouri S&T’s Facebook page and university website. 

To comply with the university’s COVID-19 safety guidance, attendance is limited to no more than four guests per graduating student. In addition, all attendees are encouraged to wear facial coverings. Direct contact, such as handshaking, is discouraged.

Guests with sight, hearing or mobility impairments may request Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations by calling 573-341-4045 or emailing equity@mst.edu.

Gragg of Rolla, holds bachelor of science and master of arts degrees in history from Missouri State University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He began teaching at Missouri S&T in 1977 and served as chair of history and political science for 17 years. He also served as vice provost for undergraduate studies for a year and was the founding chair of the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence. Gragg has won over 20 teaching awards, including the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the University of Missouri President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. He also received the University of Missouri Board of Curators’ Award for Scholarly Excellence and the University of Missouri Thomas Jefferson Award. Gragg has authored 10 books, including Englishmen Transplanted:  The English Colonization of Barbados, 1627-1660; The Quaker Community on Barbados: Challenging the Culture of the Planter Class; ’Bright Light City’:  Las Vegas in Popular Culture; Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel:  The Gangster, the Flamingo, and The Making of Modern Las Vegas; Becoming America’s Playground:  Las Vegas in the 1950s; and Forged in Gold:  Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years, published in 2020 to commemorate the university’s sesquicentennial. 

Wedge of Rolla, Missouri, holds bachelor of science, master of science and Ph.D. degrees in geology and geophysics from Missouri S&T. Wedge retired from the U.S. Army in 2004 after a 34-year military career. He used his geological training on field assignments all over the world — locating North Korean infiltration tunnels along the Demilitarized Zone, drilling for water in Egypt, and building roads in Jordan, among other projects. He also spent six months in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. After retirement Wedge worked as a senior analyst for a military contractor and taught graduate classes in environmental management for Webster University at Fort Leonard Wood. He also worked for the Missouri Division of Geology and Land Survey as chief of information services and later as chief of geotechnical services. He is past chair of the Missouri S&T Academy of Mines and Metallurgy and past secretary and current treasurer of the Miner Alumni Association. He is president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity’s educational foundation and is a member of the Order of the Golden Shillelagh donor society at Missouri S&T. Outside of the university, he is a past president of the Rolla Noon Kiwanis Club and a member of the national board of directors of the Army Engineer Association.

More information about Missouri S&T commencement is available at registrar.mst.edu/commencement

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